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