By Phillip Tappan
West of Jay there grows a sturdy oak;
Tall, mature, distinguished even-
Yet full of plight and sorrow.
“My neighbors have been coveted”
it groaned- swayed by the autumn breeze
“What beauty had they that I have not?
I the queen of trees!”
Seasons past, as each season came,
And this oak, whom even carpenters call majestic
Stood dismaying her lonely fate.
“Birch, you Pine, Beech and Hickory too,
Your wishes are granted.
Taken away from this forest hum-drum,
You travel, and God knows where are re-planted.”
From day to day she pined for her peers’ freedom,
Not grasping her friends foul fate,
And longed for some young logger
To court her too, with a trunk cutting date.
“Peace, ho there!” the oak cried from above.
“Take me far from here and thither yon,
That I might meet some love!
You, yes you there, tall yeoman’s son.”
The young woodsman’s boy, so earnestly entreated,
Obliged with haste, in axe blows;
And soon overcome with boyish exhaustion,
Took rest on a stump, and bleated
“Ah, Madame Oak, fear not!
For soon your towering limbs, though kissing sky,
Shall meet terra firma- here-“
All this he proceeded with a frivolous sigh.
Chop five, chop six, chop seven and eight-
This oak, now began with strange emote
To reconsider and re-contemplate
Her wish of wishes and dreams afloat.
“I say, hold your…” “TIMBER” he cried,
…and a vibration rang
through rock, soil, plant and animal.
For some it functioned a warning,
To others curious delight;
As for Madame Oak,
She spoke no more,
She felt no more,
Nor dreamed nor cried.
Philip is the current graduate assistant of orchestras and orchestral conducting at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He holds a B.A. in music composition from Messiah College and is presently earning his M.M. in orchestral conducting performance at SUNY Fredonia.