Honor Oak

This oak tree is an oak of honor
Not because
The legends say
Good Queen Bess rested beneath it
One May Day.
And not because I can
Stand beneath it now,
Look up to where her eyes once looked
On these living branches twisting
Like veins against the sky,
Meeting in the squat, thick trunk
And sending pulses down,
Beneath our feet,
Uniting us
In the equality of time.
Not because it proves
That nature roots out rank—No,
That first tree’s dead—
Struck by lightning!
And this, its heir,
Only enthralls me now
Because a “disorderly multitude
Loved this ground enough
To free it from a golf course
So it could welcome common feet,
Like mine, and common seeds,
Like one
That grew this tree in honor
Not of a queen’s rest,
But of a people’s work.

Image Credit Olivia Rosane

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