Once a metro area


"Today they cut down the oak.

Strong men climbed with ropes

in the brittle tree.

The exhaust of the gasoline saw

was blue in the branches.


It is February. The oak has been dead a year.

I remember the great sails of its branches

rolling out green, a hundred and twenty feet up,

and acorns thick on the lawn.

Nine cities of squirrels lived in that tree.

Today they ran through the snow

squeaking their lamentations.''

-- From "The Stump,'' by New Hampshire poet and former poet laureate Donald Hall.