Guest Poet Scott Wilson-Parsons

Three Score and Ten
			(for Rhonda, who watched a tree fall)

"The years of a life," the Psalmist said,
     "are seventy long or eighty
          if our strength endures."
Hers has long since past.
     The days slip away.she stands
          and waits.
In the end, standing is all there is-
     a hollow shell of a once proud pine,
          no shade to cool the ground at her feet,
               nor sap to renew her boughs and carry
                    the spring rains to her branches.
Only emptiness now-
     a place for woodpeckers to seek
          and worms to hide.
And so she waits.
     longing for the soft ground
          and the gentle breeze to come at last
               and lay her lightly
                    where her weary branches have long since gone.
"Three score and ten
     or even four if our strength endures,"
But in the end, there is
     nothing left but the murmur of a gentle breeze-
          an old pine falling softly, quietly to sleep-
               hoping fondly that someone cared to notice
and to remember.

August, 2000

Scott Wilson-Parsons's Questions:

1.  My original draft spoke for the tree in first person.  This left the next to last line "hoping fondly..." (as well as the earlier "she waits" and "longing for the soft ground") to be a more natural outflow of the personification carried through the piece.  Did shifting to third person (feminine) make the last two lines seem out of place?

2.  How is the pacing of the piece?

3.  Should the poem end with the 19th line ("Where her weary branches have long since gone")?  The last section is actually the inspirational point which got the poem started, but as I look at it (especially in third person), I wonder now if it is superfluous.

The Albany Poetry Workshop