“Elegy for Question Mark Oak at Mount Saint Helena”

by Jaime Zukowski
Oak tree photo by Mark Zukowski
Question Mark Oak. Photo by Mark Zukowski

Long gone, the lives nourished by your unending gifts.
Those who sat below your heavy arms to crush
your acorns with volcanic stone. Generations of birds
and deer, the massive bear that once roamed here.
Your summer leaves cooled stagecoach teams, waving
their tails beneath your limbs. Miners stood around your
trunk— eyes to the hills— your closest kin for fuel they took.
Settlers, farmers cut and cleared— for orchards, vineyards,
views, land deals. Dry seasons’ flames took brush and fir,
blackened bark, still you endured. Windstorms blew
down from the mount— your figure held its curve and grace
as others cracked, pulled from the roots. Though all the years
of timeless sky— your open frame through which to see!
As lives gather, then will pass, as moving shadows
cross the mount— is it bow, or question you pose?
Are we to answer, or to ask?

Click on the links below to read more poetry

“A Sunday Morning”
Jamie Zukowski’s bio

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