Ghazal of Treaty Oak
by James Brush
Great Treaty Oak, a poisoned husk,
bent boughs beneath this ashen dusk.
The deals we reached beneath this tree
portended its pale and broken dusk.
I always dreamed I’d shoot your scenes
beneath theses branches at golden dusk.
Long years and days withered away
and swallowed you in barren dusk.
Odd limbs still live and mingle with
new high rise lines in token dusk.
Somehow you found the way back home
all through the long moth-eaten dusk.
And the songs of city birds suggest
the dawn of some new-woven dusk.
James’ process notes:
Treaty Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak in downtown Austin, TX. In 1989 someone poisoned it. After a major recovery effort, it survived and the poisoner went to jail for a good long time. It’s still a big tree but only a fraction of its former self, yet ten years later it started releasing acorns again.