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.


Painted Maybes

December 6, 2013
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Filling a book of futures with planned desires
Hopes are mounted like empty photographs
Whose pictures we supply,
a priori.
Each image, when it’s due, removed
And pasted in the book of me on the page of now
Painted with reality,
a posteriori
Time passes and each life moves on with its own pulse
Marking moments as the turn of chapters,
Marking moments as the flicking of pages
That fill the heart with recollections
Of joys and pains and the mind’s reflections.
And hope’s pictures unachieved gently rest as feathers in the book of fallen dreams.

Twin Shadows

September 11, 2013
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They took my good friends to a party
Friends that they never could know
Friends who had planned for a future
Friends who did not want to go

They took them to join with some others
Others who worked in the towers
Others who planned for a future
Fulfilled by the freedom that’s ours

The party was over so quickly
They came and they set it alight
With my friends who did not choose to be there
When they came to the end of their flight

The folks who had lives on each tower
Who felt they could not take the heat
Flew from the gate-crashers’ scene
And bottomed-out down on the street

They took my good friends to a party
They made sure my friends never left
Their families – the world – cannot fathom
The hatred that left them bereft

Helmeted braves with their hatchets
Could not get my friends to go home
And many souls stay there forever
At the place that is ground zero zone

Some blaspheming nearly-men did it
Exposing half-brothers to guilt
And calling all Bush-men to vengeance
More good and bad blood to be spilt

The only way forward for all of us
Is to care for the ones we neglect –
To give the world’s youth words of wisdom,
Truth, tempered with love and respect

Al Barz, 2004


April 5, 2012
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Future brings our crocodile fears to bear
on tenterhook steps we would not lightly take.
Future is a Bowie knife our minds would forge
to slice and chop away a dreaded déjà vu.
Future is a plan designed on previous disasters,
history’s tedious lessons recalled avoiding pain
or else carelessly neglected so we suffer once again.
When we draw back the curtain to bathe in colour
to breathe the fresh day, smell the meadow sweet,
touch the cornerstone of a new cathedral
precautions heeded or cavalierly disregarded
lead us to be what we had planned… or failed to be.

Posted in Poetry
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