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Razing the Woodlot

for Vincent R. Murphy


Here stands the grove our tenant plans to fell.

The homesteaders who planted this tree claim

fled North Dakota when the Dust Bowl came.

Their foursquare farmhouse is a roofless shell;

their tended shelterbelt, a den for fox

and dumpground for machinery and rocks.


The woodlot seeds its pigweed in our loam,

and windstorms topple poplars on the field;

but for a few wasted acres' yield

we'll spare the vixen and her cubs their home

and leave unburied these decaying beams

to teach us the temerity of dreams.


Timothy Murphy



From The Deed of Gift, Story Line Press,

1998.  Reprinted by permission of the author
and Story Line Press, Ashland, Oregon.

Background by
Karen S. Nicholas

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