The English Elm is Dead

Spreads in the midst her boughs and agéd arms
an elm, huge, shadowy, where vain dreams, ’tis said,
are wont to roost them, under every leaf close-clinging.’
-Virgil, The Aeneid

The English Elm is dead.
No more does she live.
Nowhere but the realm of dream.
I prepare my chariot for the journey.

Two white coursers
plunge through the hedge of mist
and a spark of elf light leads the way
through withered corpses of trees,
leaves fallow, roots starved,
gagging on the pain
of their tyloses
over ground thick with beetles
dark with pox
thronging without purpose,
teeth chattering
to the huge, shadowy elm
who keeps our dreams
sheltered beneath her generous leaves.

She is dead. Rotten.
Riddled with disease.
Her towering boughs creak in a windless wind.
There is no sign of our dreams.

The virus takes form in beetles
nonchalant, uncaring if it has lost or won.
It simply is undoing itself again,
scattering on,
leaving
only beetles feeding on disease…

feeding on disease…

in dream our world is in reversal.
Beetles take the pox back into themselves.
Trees draw back their tyloses.
Sap flows. Generous buds burst green.
Under aged arms
our little dreams are back again,
happy as elfish lanterns.

Yet my heart is heavy and hard.
The English Elm is dead.
She will never be seen. No dream
can quell this irreversible sadness.

Dead Elms, cut down in Greencroft Valley

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3 thoughts on “The English Elm is Dead

  1. I swear my good neighbor, who is a woodsman and archer hunter, has an English elm in his front yard. Though it is a “dirty” tree dropping long flowers full of tannin that stain his sidewalk and producing a copious amount of seeds in spiky pods you don’t want to step on or run the mower over. But he won’t cut it down because he knows how rare it is for one to have survived Dutch Elm Disease. I collect these and plant them in my woods across the stream and have been successful with one so far.

  2. Reblogged this on Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge and commented:
    Another lovely poem post by Lorna to share with you. My comment was – “I swear my good neighbor, who is a woodsman and archer hunter, has an English elm in his front yard. Though it is a “dirty” tree dropping long flowers full of tannin that stain his sidewalk and producing a copious amount of seeds in spiky pods you don’t want to step on or run the mower over. But he won’t cut it down because he knows how rare it is for one to have survived Dutch Elm Disease. I collect these and plant them in my woods across the stream and have been successful with one so far. Also its funny about my good neighbor, whose first name btw is Loyal, though he used his middle name. He is a Mason and a good man. He does archery and some gun hunting but is such a perfectionist on getting the perfect kill shot i have never seen him with prey for 10 years, and i salute that. And if he would get prey he would be one to use Everything on it for a purpose. “

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