Oldest among us, you saw Ur emerge
on the banks of the Tigris, and then fall
into timeless sands, watched epochs submerge
Sumer, then Nubia, then Rome. These all
faded into the past, while you stand, still
watching over your desert, like foolish
Sybil in her old glass jar, ancient, ill,
unable to die. There, you take ghoulish
delight in outliving us all, your grove
steeped in the memories of ancient days,
before Europeans arrived and drove
the Natives from their cities, set ablaze.
Fire too may one day end your epic race:
like Prometheus, none escape death’s embrace.

One Comment

  1. J. Patrick Hanley

    The assignment was to write a poem about a tree. So this is about Methuselah, previously thought to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on Earth at 4,850 years old. It would have germinated in 2833 BCE, while humans were merely rolling around in the cradle of civilization. Prometheus, another ancient bristlecone pine in the Methuselah Grove was cut down in 1964.

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