Saturday, April 13, 2013


Abstractions of Civilization
grow a Tree
but fell the black oak
the white oak and
the red oak
to make Floors,
first floor Deep and
penthouse Towering Transcendent,
and as Words less particular
expand in number and meaning
Man climbs out of his Cradle
and ages Wise and Philosophical 
but there is a Grave that lies in wait,
for what Civilization has been able
to stand its Ground without
the Black Oak
the White Oak and
the Red Oak.

     This poem grows out of my epiphanic confusion brought on by reading the following from The Story of Civilization:  Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant.  ". . . Choctaw Indians had names for the black oak, the white oak and the red oak, but no name for oak, much less for tree . . . abstract terms seem to grow in a reciprocal relation of cause and effect with the development of thought; they become the tools of subtlety and the symbols of civilization."  But it seems to me that as civilization matures itself in abstractions, the ability to know the difference between an oak and a maple, much less between a black oak, a white oak, and a red oak, is civilization's dementia and ultimate demise.

Posted at Poets United Poetry Pantry #146.


  1. It is true. I think, it is because we constantly are distancing ourselves from nature and moving towards 'abstractions' i.e. away from our immediate reality. "Ultimate demise" of a civlization is something which will necessarily be the end of it.

  2. Oh this is a mesmerizing poem, the more so when one reads your ruminations which follow. If only we had learned from the Old Ones how to regard the trees as individuals.

  3. I would agree to the previous comments, we have "distanced ourselves from nature" and it's sad that we didn't learn from the Choctaw and other tribes who respected nature and lived in harmony with the world. A stunning piece!

  4. you hit on some big philosophies here - and do hope you are inspired deeply this week!

  5. powerful words.I do agree to a large extent with ur opinion.abstractions help to keep the blood off our hands, in a way.but that doesnt make the murder any less real.well put.

  6. If nature is about paradise, it is also bout paradoxes. We, humans would probably never learn...gorgeous piece of poetry!:) love this!

  7. I love what inspired this poem and the poem itself--knowing nature makes us that much more appreciative, it becomes part of us and we of it.

  8. Interesting! (Did you mean to suggest a tre shape in the layout? Because it works for me!)

  9. I appreciate your sharing the background information for your poem, Libby. Although your writing is clear and profoundly moving without those details, they clarified historical perspective and gave me food for thought.

  10. I appreciate your passion. And love your site!
    About your poem . . . one other perspective people don't realize is that the forest is much more healthy if properly timbered. I abhor thoughtless clear-cutting of wild forest but Silva-culture is a good thing.


  11. lovely piece with profound philosophy...


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