The ponderosa stood proud and lissom,
its bole aglow in the evening sun.
Perhaps thirty years it strove blueward
against drought and frost, and time—
greened, and plumed olive spring dust,
dropped its rusted needles each autumn,
and pelted the forest floor with cones.
Squirrels and nuthatches fed in refuge.
Deer perched on winter drifts to browse.
Now it stands but eight feet high,
snapped mid-trunk by loaded rime.
Bare and blackened branches flail
from the ochred gnarl of flaking bark,
protest akimbo at forgotten thoughts.
A steady stream of wasps come and go
from a nest at its mouldered core.
A dark phalanx of ants scales its hide
while a northern flicker thrums a meal.
To those would push it down, I say
No, it is not what it was—nor are you.
Wait a bit; wait and see what befalls.
’Twould be a pity for new beauty to peal
forth and have no soul stand by to hear.