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Dismantling The Leylandii | June 16, 2017

The conifer gave nothing to the ground
Strong, stable, sucking goodness from the soil
Roots deep spread and undermining
Satisfied only itself, no shelter for a bird,
Its negative needles provided no nutrients
Dropping cones solely to broadcast seed.
In the interest of a better future, I voted to remove it
Wanting something less selfish, with more beauty

I set about the task with meagre tools,
A little chopper and a saw and not to much effect
The chopper was criticised – not up to the job
It’s handle short in grip and seemed scant strength.
The naked tree laughed as those blows glanced off
But with momentum, bark was stripped, wood bared
A chain saw many teeth in huge support
To cut where axe had bitten to the sap

And soon enough the tree fell, trimmed to stump
The little chopper’s marks clear on the fallen boughs
A million needles now were swept aside
Without ceremony, to the brown garden bin,
But still that stump persists, a dense and sturdy block
With nothing to uphold, open to the season,
Thick roots held in place by uneven slab,
A fractured infrastructure of a saddened path.

Tool handles now renewed in strength
I seek to dig away the useless stump
Lifting the slab to make room for a spade
Exposing horrors of a thousand ants
That made their nests in shelter of a tree
Beneath a slab. And dearly do I trust
Those terrors shall now take themselves away
Under fresh truth, dispelling my dismay.

Something deciduous is here required
Something assiduous with outstretched arms
Where birds will sing with unbounded joy
And flowers bloom in Hope’s unfolding cheer
And leaves that, when they fall give richness back
In leaf mold compost added to good earth
Which then supplies abundance to the many
Creatures sharing in Nature’s love and mirth.

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2 Comments »

  1. This reads as though the writer watched someone else chop down the tree. Laylandii bottom beaches grow over the next row, which in turn grow over the ones above; right to the top.
    It takes forever to remove them with a chain saw.
    The roots grow in a similar pattern and they are encased in compacted soil which has to be hacked / dug out to enable the chain saw to gain safe access. This takes forever.
    The only satisfying thing is burning the branches which, if prepared properly, along with the pines, can be burned in a few hours.
    There is zero romance or poetry in the whole procedure.
    Nice bit of writing but highly unauthentic

    Comment by Ted smith-Orr — June 16, 2017 @ 10:48 pm

    • Second person to catch me out with their knowledge of Leylandii. After writing, I thought “What would be a good title?”
      Finally I came up with the dismantling, only the type of tree would be unknown to most, and not very catchy. Most people know of Leylandii so I called it that.
      In actuality it took three months of hacking and sawing, when motivation and energy coincided, before investing in the chainsaw which zipped through the ten trunks in ten seconds each. Trimming up the fallen branches has taken two weeks. The digging up remains to be achieved.
      As the poem is allegorical, I shall leave the title, but if another Leylandii aficionado should happen upon it, I’ll change the title.
      Thanks for the comments, Ted.

      Comment by Al Barz — June 16, 2017 @ 11:15 pm


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