Death By Decree

Death did not claim them with disease
Neither age nor weakness
Neither storm nor drought
But indeed death was delivered by decree

Magnificent trees
Roots firmly embedded 6 decades ago
They rose 60 foot high
Towering above the encroaching stark terracotta roofs

Twenty or more
Breathed the pollution
Spewed by traffic
That rushed to and fro

A living tapestry
That swayed
With the breeze

The day had come
With dire news
Man and machine arrived

Firmly gripped in hand
The order read
Not one to be spared

Engulfed with anger and frustration
My stomach churned
Misty, my eyes became

Soon that dreadful sound
I've heard so many times before
Would fill the air

I'll remember these giants
Givers of so much life
That stood silent
In the downpour of rain

I'll remember these gums
Their outstretched limbs
That cradled new generations

Their discarded spring flowers
Sprinkled the ground in a palette of rustic colours

No more will I hear
The chorus of birds
As nightfall descends

Nor the early call of the kookaburra
As it heralds the new dawn

Death had arrived

These magnificent trees
Standing their last
Were no match
Against the power of man and machine

It was forceful

It was brutal

Today Extinction
Tomorrow a sea of terracotta roofs

 

T Benbrook © 2008