The Last Tree
They file past, upturned faces awestruck with wonder
Not one of them has ever seen my kind before
Nor will they likely do so again, for I am the last.
It has been more than a generation since my kind went under
There will be no saplings, no seeds, not now, not anymore
The time of my kind, my species, is forever past.
Our murderers cannot yet admit they made a blunder
Poisoning the air, destroying every single spore
Eliminating the greenery of Earth's forests vast.
Only now when faced with the world's last living tree
Encased in a museum diorama behind leaded glass
Do they encompass what their collective hubris has done.
Why must it cost such an ungodly price to see
The death of all their futures in the follies they surpass,
Will they know of losses more than they believe to have won?
We cleaned their air, Mother Nature's own promise and guarantee,
From the mighty oaks and elms to the densest prairie grass
That sweetened every breath and succored them from the sun.
Now machines do the work to filter their every lung's taste
And shield them from Sol's bitter, biting, burning rays
Their adaptation their only defense against their folly's fault.
While I stand here to the last, awaiting eventual rot & waste
Under school children's astonished, amazed and wary gaze
Every bitter tear waters my bed of soil with killing salt.
Until with germination has my imposed loneliness been replaced
And with new hope might seedlings be interred to raise
Will vegetation rebound from the meatlings unwitting assault.
So pass me by with a look, attend well the words of your guide
Who tells you of how my kind once kept your kind alive
And of how your arrogance cost us everything we ever knew.
Think well on what you will do when I, the last tree has died.
How will your children or theirs ever hope to survive,
When only ashes coat the world where once greenery grew?
Think long and hard on how we all may safely abide
How photosynthesis is required for both of our species to thrive
So you will never have to moan, “If only we knew?”
©2014 Christopher Reilley
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