Wed, 20 Mar 2002

To count the rings within a tree
That grew in Pontius Pilate’s day,
Or was cut down by Nez-Percé,
Or marks the spot that Kublai Khan
Decreed his Pleasure-Dome upon.

To take core samples and to see
Which rings are narrow, which are broad,
And which show signs of being gnawed
By insects; and in doing so
To date events of long ago.

And so with great accuracy
We know how balmy was the shore
That Vikings trod in Labrador;
Did oceans rise one centimetre
Then fall again? Just ask a cedar.

It’s good for you, it’s good for me.
Without it how would we determine
If fluctuations in the German
Climate drove the Goths to burn
And pillage Rome? No small concern!

Aeons of living history
Entombed within its knobby hide,
An olive tree, when looked inside,
Can tell the tale of ancient Crete,
Of Greece’s rise, of Troy’s defeat.

A boon to archaeology!
Let no-one ever dare impugn it.
Let no-one smear the people doin’ it.
Now let us all fall to our knees
And thank our ancient friends, the trees!

–for Carolyn.


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