The Butler Pennsylvania Poems




Powers That Be


The newspaper reported that evening
that the stately old tree
dating back before 1800
had fallen,
but left unsaid
that forty years back
lightning had struck it,
and that metal rods were being used
to hold up its arms.

On that orangish evening
in late September
the strong winds
that blow in off the hill
to the west of us
had known no mercy
and took down
our oldest living member.

Next morning we encircled the plot
where men with saws had laid it out,
criss-cross in pyre form,
to burn its spirit on,
and we mourners stood
a day long in silence watching
until its limbs had turned to ashes.