Cedar Fence and Savannah Oak

Another winter looms
on the horizon.
The abandoned pasture
has turned prairie-meadow brown.
The dormant weeds and vines
that quiver in this wind
cling to my rails and posts
that have served as bluebird stations
for so many past springs.
Now I hold the rain
in my empty hollows.

Good friend, for years I have been
the roost of robins, jays and squirrels,
I’ve even served
as a lookout point
for the warning crows,
the perch for frost
where weighted snows
and ice storms bent my boughs.
Yesterday’s fat tawny leaves
still cling like mittens
to the tips of my barren branches.

We’ve both survived the fires
ignited by spring’s lightning.
Each year your tender core
adds another ring of green
while my weathered skin sloughs off again
under the relentless silver sun.
Yes, my great old friend,
we’ve outlasted all our changing neighbors.

And you, who were
that useful border,
now border nothing
any longer.
The only reason
we’re both still standing—
we are embraced
by the ceaseless wind.

—David Scheler, Cross Plains, WI