Trees Forest Urban

Vol. III No. 3 - SPRING 1991

By: Kathryn Duskey Gemperle

I have considered a tree
How it grows and moves
How it marks
the time
the years
I have transplanted a tree
growing like a weed
between the cracks
to a parkway space
before the city bureau
notices
four years later they will
survey
and mark a list
I have requested trees
from the city
for 23 places along the
parkways
planted in neat rows
like Cochran’s first plantings
in Edgewater
100 years ago
He tore out old willows and
scrub oak
creating a planned suburb
Now city neighbors water
and feed the new plantings
to save them from the
drought
some died
I have read about trees
planted in Grant Park
in ‘07
Two thousand elm trees died
victims of landfill,
the price of planning
mistakes
But the plan now
grows trees above cars
in the Monroe garage
to accommodate both
curious arrangement
the forest must fit
I have found a tree
bending to the light
growing unplanned by the
downspout
A sassafras my neighbor
says must stay
the only one on this
side of the Lake
I have removed a tree, a mulberry
bush grown too large by
the gate
Another three stories
high grows by the
porch
We cannot bear to cut it
The birds own it and
eat wantonly
Even a raccoon has come
for a snack
I am sure that only God can
make a tree
But in the city
only man can
let it grow
make it grow
A tree is a tree is a tree
is a seedling
is a weed
is a planting
is a plan
is a forest
urban

 

Copyright © 1991 by Kathryn Duskey Gemperle - All Rights Reserved