were not worthy stewards of our pines;
never grasped the way they interwove.
along the island's length like vines,
twined from sound to sea in one vast grove.
neighbors on that subdivided land
their plots and planted hardwood trees
languished in a bed of brackish sand
soon succumbed to tentworms or disease.
parents left a handsome stand uncut
hacked out all the saplings and the brush.
stormy nights with cottage windows shut,
heard old boughs creak in the seawind's rush.
by one the surviving pines were tried
the Barrens grew more barren as they died.
printed in The Formalist.
by permission of the author.