In early times the hemlock trees
Stood stately, tall, and trim.
Their branches reached a hundred feet
Above the forest dim.
Beneath the boughs of green
The earth was soft and brown.
There furry folk and feathered friends
Whisked and fluttered up and down.
Bitter tannin kept away
The insects that might taste
Tender hemlock shoots or twigs
And kept them safe from waste.
But that which kept the hemlock safe
Was doomed to make it fall.
The logger's ax soon bit and killed
These giants green and tall.
With speedy spuds they peeled the bark
And hauled it all away.
The logs were left to rot or burn
And settlers found them in the way.
Hides were brought from far away
And soaked in tannin brine.
Then leather soft was sent away
For shoes and goods so fine.
Some worked to save the wasting logs
And took them to the mill.
They built the Winchester Hotel
Upon our city's hill.
This hemlock hotel housed
Some travelers for a time.
But business soon slowed down
For the hill was hard to climb.
They razed this structure great and fine
And sold the lumber second hand.
And from it then were built
New churches in the land.
Hemlock sidewalks rotted out.
Their planks were thrown away.
Cheaper chemicals were made.
Using hemlock tannin didn't pay.
A few remaining hemlocks stand
And whisper in the breeze.
Listen to the tales they tell
And think of ancient, stately trees.
Plant and plan and think and try
To use resources right.
And let not pride or greed for gain
Take treasures from our sight.