They Are Taking Down The Tree – prose by Paul Vincent Cannon

Last week at dVerse we were invited to write a 144 word prose piece based on a line from a Jane Kenyon poem. But I was also struck by the title of said poem – Taking Down The Tree – and I have used that for a further 144 word prose piece.



“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”  Rabindranath Tagore

They Are Taking Down The Tree

The city workers come with steel teeth to eat our tree. It’s only mid-morn, and yet a darkness pervades the space before us, just as it must have done for anyone attending a public execution in the past. Powerless, we voice our dismay, but shields, batons and spray are on hand to hold our anger at bay. No presumption of innocence, no defence asked, guilty as charged! We’ve decided, says the Suit, policy obscure, too much mess, inconvenience, it’s old, it must go. And the workers laconically quote Nuremberg while wiping their hands. Powerless we watch as the teeth awaken with a roar, eager to chew and tear. They are taking down the tree. Piece by piece, a clinical kill. And as the final cut  is made, I’m powerless, rasping, struggling to breathe. They’ve cut my lungs across the street, across this darkening world.

©Paul Vincent Cannon



Filed under environment, Free Verse, life, poem, quote, relationship

39 responses to “They Are Taking Down The Tree – prose by Paul Vincent Cannon

  1. This is a wonderful write! I really like the way you have woven public excutions and trees along with Nuremberg … it is old, it must go!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Ahhh this is heartbreaking Paul..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The powerlessness! Bylaws have changed here – it is much harder to cut down trees without justification.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Arbitrary seems to have a lot of future these days. I think it was Tocqueville who saw the emerging bureaucracy as a potential form of tyranny…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Powerful words to describe one of our main problems.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Very heartbreaking, Paul! They stand still over centuries, and saw so many things. Now we kill them. Best wishes for a beautiful weekend! Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a heartbreaking and profound piece!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. We don’t need any more parking lots just ask Joni Mitchell when she is in that Big Yellow Taxi.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. too many are executed for no reason .. great emotional plea!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m particularly struck by this post because I live just a couple of counties over from where Jane Kenyon and her husband Donald Hall lived in New Hampshire. And every time I travel anywhere in this part of the state, I’m seeing great swathes of trees being destroyed to make room for car washes, storage units, and convenience stores that we don’t need. It’s HORRIBLE!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. lync56

    Wow that is very very powerful – you must do more of this – as well as your other poems


    Liked by 3 people

  12. Profound piece indeed, really interesting and nd thanks for sharing. Have a great day.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. This post broke my heart. I live in a subdivision that preserved many of the trees when it was built. Now the trees are old and tall and stately. There’s a little patch of woods outside my writing window. New neighbors moved in and decided to ‘clear out’ the trees on their new property. I could understand cutting the ones close to the house as they could do damage if they fell. But they went on to cut the ones in the wooded area far from their house. I cried all day hearing those saws. How can someone cut down a healthy tree?

    Liked by 2 people

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