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WHEN AMONG THE DEAD

Through a forest of ghosts I wend,
all their tall bones left behind
where faded browns and dull greys blend
and any green is hard to find.

On this steep Blue ridge mountain top
husks of hemlocks crack and creak
in winds that pause but seldom stop,
where mating hawks circle and shriek.

Here where the sun is seldom strong
and in ravines where streams run white
once grew hemlocks tall and strong.
now not one live one comes to sight.

My father told me how it was
when chestnuts, sequoias of the east,
all stood dead and bare because
a far eastern blight had been released.

And like me he walked and talked with ghosts
of a dense forest that used to be,
mourning the loss of soaring hosts
and of how things used to be.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
Like the chestnuts of a generation ago it appears the eastern hemlock is now doomed by a foe imported from the far east.
Editing stage: 

Comments

made me think of those long ago days of fall, when we would stop and pick up those chestnuts on the way to and from school. I think that there are some chestnut trees left around, here and there. I could swear I saw one in the yard of my old neighborhood just recently. Maybe not, I was driving and couldn't gawk, but it's nice to think that maybe some have survived. I hope that the eastern hemlock isn't the next to go. It would truly be a shame. Your scansion is really good in this one and I can't find fault, except for the typo of [not] instead of now. ~ Gee.
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there's a good story behind the chestnut near extinction. Years ago in Virginia as the chestnuts were all dying a guy was walking through a grove of dead and dying trees. He came by chance upon a chestnut tree which was not only still alive but seemed unaffected by the blight. He figured it was just a matter of time. but he kept an eye on this tree. Each time he revisited it he expected to see the first signs of blight. And he kept checking on it for a year... then two years . After 5 years it was still healthy....Hmmmmm. So he harvested some of this tree's nuts and planted them. And the resultant saplings survived. And eventually they bore nuts. And these nuts were planted. And their saplings also proved resistant. And now after all these years the descendants of this one resistant tree are finally being made available for transplanting. I intend to purchase a couple of them per year for about 6-8 years and setting them out around here. Perhaps there will come a day when once again the American chestnut will become at least common again.........stan PS thanks for typo spot

author comment

a(n)x far

and I even now see ghosts
do u know
some hosts are like
added
g

I actually DO preview before posting. But i appreciate that others' eyes see what mine must not. Thanks for the visit..........stan

author comment

dangs

I love the sound of your poem. But just a question, What was the significance of the mating hawks?

Thanks for the visit. The haws were there to show that although the forest had died there were others who observed its passing not just the protagonist. i had almost used crows but decided that their being the bearers of dead souls might be carrying it a bit too far.........stan

author comment

Loved this it reminded me of the old grave places out in the bush we use to come across in Africa where the little fence was near gone, and just the memories that had long been forgotten trying to grow among the invading bush.
One line I ask of you where you have used and to start it:-
"And like me he walked and talked with ghosts"
Maybe it would be better if you dropped the "And" it becomes more joined with your Kin that way and gentler..
Take care, Yours as always Ian..

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Yours as always, Ian.T, Sparrow, and Yenti

I run across abandoned grave yards once in a while myself. They are often little more than flat blank stows turned on end and a lot of folks would not recognize them for what they are. Appreciate you dropping by..........stan

author comment

i love every nooks and crannies of this poem
nice one Geezer

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

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