The day comes when I walk
to the last tree standing,
and on my way I meet
a man who says to me:
how come you use your legs
to look at the tree? So I explain
the history of locomotion:
how man advanced from horseback
to cart, carriage to Model T,
steam engine to diesel, from
Kitty Hawk to Moon Base Three.
Then I describe the forgotten art
of exercise, the pleasure of muscles
coiling under strain, the breath
stumbling from the chest, the joy
of cold sweat, the blood's
Niagara rushing to the veins.
Such punishment is insane
the man insists, they did all this
to see a tree? then I explain
how long ago the planet rustled
with leaves and grass held
a mystery that no footstep
could trespass - the man sighs
as I tell him this, and then I
suggest: there was a time
when moonlight copied, line
by line, the swaying boughs;
an age when sunlight nourished
the buds to bloom; when the wind
scattered the seeds until a million-
billion trees rose majestically...
That's some story, the man says.
He can only smile and shake his head;
he doesn't believe that all those trees
are dead. Tell me more about your legs,
he says, and the rushing blood.
I want to know more about that.