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Throwing a Tree

I

 
The two executioners stalk along over the knolls,
Bearing two axes with heavy heads shining and wide,
And a long limp two—handled saw toothed for cutting great boles,
And so they approach the proud tree that bears the death—mark on its side.
 

II

 
Jackets doffed they swing axes and chop away just above ground,
And the chips fly about and lie white on the moss and fallen leaves;
Till a broad deep gash in the bark is hewn all the way round,
And one of them tries to hook upward a rope, which at last he achieves.
 

III

 
The saw then begins, till the top of the tall giant shivers:
The shivers are seen to grow greater with each cut than before:
They edge out the saw, tug the rope; but the tree only quivers,
And kneeling and sawing again, they step back to try pulling once more.
 

IV

 
Then, lastly, the living mast sways, further sways: with a shout
Job and Ike rush aside. Readied the end of its long staying powers
The tree crashes downward: it shakes all its neighbours throughout,
And two hundred years’ steady growth has been ended in less than two hours.
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