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Poetry Magnum Opus

Creeping Jihad


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Seemingly innocuous ivy sneaks

up the trunk of my middle-aged

oak, stealing life’s sap like a swarm

of thousands of anopheles.

Beautiful green camouflage brings

admiring, ignorant gazes upon

the marriage of leech and tree,

no symbiosis here: inexorable fall.

Awareness of invasion apparent

only in the forewarning death

of leaves and innocent progeny

of acorns, no Passover this year.

Even the dissection process, performed

with chainsaw instead of scalpel

or even ax. No celebrity dignity

or ceremony in the hauling away.

Trunk stump and deep-rooted

remains, covered by ivy vultures

that continue to suck life’s blood

and hide the felons’ heinous acts.

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Hi Frank, Ivy can be pretty but it does kill trees and it will take over if you let it. I have a huge redwood behind my house and ivy was beginning to do its thing but my neighbor needed pasture for her goats so I gave her permission to put the goats on my property. They took care of the problem and ate the ivy and saved the tree. But goats can kill a tree too by eating the bark, so once the ivy was gone I sent the goats home.


I really liked your poem, it is so sad that the tree had to come down.



~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Jihad? How so?

from the black desert

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I liked your poem which personalises the constant and relentless struggle for survival in nature. My sympathy for "the middle-aged oak" a noble tree. I'm reminded of my neighbour, (co-incidentally asian :) whose house gables and inner roof-space were invaded over time by "seemingly innocuous ivy". It created much work for a zealous contractor who attacked it with relish. :smile:

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This tree died exactly as described, after surviving a hurricane in which it bent almost double but didn't break. The prose poem is meant as a metaphor; up to the reader to choose. Thanks GK, Judi and Geoff.

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Now, see? I know about the tree, yet, I took it as being possibly about yourself (or anyone, for that matter) fighting against life, trying to survive. I imagined the tree as you and how just life, itself, sucks your own from you. Of course, you've told me of your 'disposal' plans, maybe that's what brought them together for me. Please tell me if wrong.


I believe if we took G's first sentence of his comment and changed his last word to "life", rather than nature, it would be summed up.


Either way, Franklin, I enjoyed, immensely. How long has it been, months?

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Hi, MQ. That's pretty good speculation, but I have never had the patience or endurance of an oak. The title should be taken into account, especially in light of recent tragic events. We seem to be as ignorant of jihad as I was about ivy. We seem not to notice until the bites wake us, soon to be forgotten. You're right; this is the first new thing I've written for some time. Thank you.

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