Owed To George Bush

I can’t really speak for David Wagoner, but, if I’d been invited to speak at George Bush’s speech on logging practices in Southern Oregon, I would have read this poem by Wagoner:

Report from a Forest Logged by
the Weyerhaeuser Company

Three square miles clear-cut.
Now only the facts matter:
The heaps of gray-splintered rubble,
The churned-up duff, the roots, the bulldozed slash,
The silence,

And beyond the ninth hummock
(All of them pitched sideways like wrecked houses)
A creek still running somewhere, bridged and dammed
By cracked branches.
No birdsong. Not one note.

And this is April, a sunlit morning.
Nothing but facts. Wedges like half-moons
Fallen where saws cut over and under them
Bear ninety or more rings.
A trillium gapes at so much light

Among the living: a bent huckleberry,
A patch of salal, a wasp,
And now, making a mistake about me,
Two brown-and-black butterflies landing
For a moment on my boot.

Among the dead: thousands of fir seedlings
A foot high, planted ten feet apart,
Parched brown for lack of the usual free rain,
Two buckshot beer cans, and overhead,
A vulture big as an eagle.

Selective logging, they say, we’ll take three miles,
It’s good for the bears and deer, they say,
More brush and berries sooner or later,
We’re thinking about the future-if you’re in it
With us, they say. It’s a comfort to say

Like Dividend or Forest Management or Keep Out.

They’ve managed this to a fare-thee-well.

I guess I like this poem so much because it doesn’t require much interpretation, though a series of photographs might compliment it .

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