Hemlock Trees

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.

 

Loretta Kuse


Resources compiled by Dr. Loretta Kuse