Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Ashes of March


The Ashes of March

The warning signs were there

Weak limbs roped
to no avail
Leaves fell before they died

Final flush of seed
a legacy
Grubs fatten in pin-holed bark

Woodpeckers drum out
emerald borers
Above the chainsaw X

The street has lost
its shade
To firewood ashes

Where will the cardinal sing?

Bryan D. Cook    Ottawa, December 2012

Context  for "The Ashes of March"
This poem is about the devastation to the ash trees of Ottawa caused by the accidental introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer...a beetle native to Asia which lays its grubs through pin holes it bores, to feed below the bark of ash trees. The only remedy is to stem the tide by cutting down the infected trees. The result has been the devastation of whole neighbourhoods where they were originally planted for their shade. The lesson learned too late is that monoculture bites back, although it gives the woodpeckers quite a feast albeit temporary!
The poem is another of my attempts at minimalist imagery. I did not realise until after it was written that it is in the form of a bookended series of haiku!

To be felled


Emerald Ash Borer and "D" pin entry hole


Bark chipped by woodpeckers with grub groves


Downy woodpecker feeding beside the limb rope


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