For the silent party in the St. Aidan's controversy

Please excuse this view, perhaps too selective,
as I offer Brookliners an arboreal perspective,
about the eldest resident in our unique town
(sorry if this causes some developers to frown).
I refer here to a tree of considerable reach,
which, for convenience, we’ll call “the Copper Beech,”
planted well before present memory allows,
when congestion on Beacon meant too many cows.

It grew from a beachnut under Millard Filmore,
then from seedling to sapling by the Civil War.
It was fifty when Teddy charged up San Juan Hill,
the tree was amazed, but it didn’t stand still.
It kept growing right through the Roaring Twenties,
attaining the rich color of real copper pennies.
With the Great Depression, it barely made eighty,
then a New Deal arrived and it grew more weighty.

Through a day of infamy and the D-Day invasion,
it bowed to the storms, but kept to its station.
And whatever our sorrows, however we prayed,
it remained faithful and provided us shade.
That was true for young Jack a block over on Beale,
when the tree was the size of a huge ferris wheel.
It’s hundreth birthday–well, it came and it went.
The tree was still there, just a little more bent.

Then came the Cold War and the Atomic Bomb,
then JFK, LBJ, the War in ‘Nam,
then moonshots, then Watergate, the Nixon saga,
and everything since then, the whole enchilada.
All this it saw, our most russet eyewitness
(and pioneering exemplar of physical fitness).
It’s long been the finest structure in town,
not excluding some gems we’ve already torn down.

So when remodeling St. A’s to provide needed housing
don’t forget the concern that this poet’s espousing.
When it comes to great trees, and one that’s so ancient,
let’s emulate the beech and learn to be patient,
and not go rushing off, whether hasty or mean,
but remember that Nature always has the first lien.
Yes, let’s leave the beech be, it’s long stood its ground,
one of the few things in Brookline that utters no sound.

Human beings crave more than their pittance of years,
so one hundred-fifty deserves reverence and cheers.
What right do we have to kill something this old?
“Respect your elders,” our children are told.
If we choose to destroy such a wondrous creation,
we’ll uproot a green vision beyond estimation,
for that beech tree will be here long after we’re gone,
ah, stately, silent sentinel of the Brookline dawn.

August 2002


All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter