Note: On Thursday, February 6, 2020, a National Weather Service-confirmed EF-1 tornado touched down in Spartanburg, SC, running east on a devastating 10-mile course. One casualty, among many, a grand pecan tree that graced the entrance of Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens.
Stately, thou hast stood, withstood time’s test,
year through year unto a centenary,
aye, more of seasons.
From first planting that long-ago Spring day,
to paraphrase Hamlet’s word, to both manner and manor born,
thou hast been through fiery summers,
balmy autumnal breezes,
many a wintry snap of faint-cold,
then again greeting another birthday Spring.
And how rich hath been thine off’rings,
the treasur’d harvest of thy limbs,
falling measure by measure for creaturely pleasure
to take and bake and make Southern tradition’s delicacy.
Now, no more.
Nature’s mightiest blast,
a barreling train of wind and rain,
battered, bent, broke, felled thee.
Is it I only who notices,
and in noticing, knows,
and in knowing, grieves that thou hast departed?
e’en the night sky,
now, fore’er searching,
longing to see thy daily branch-fingered hands
rising in orison’d pleading for a gentle rest ‘til dawn’s light –
lament thy loss
and, in such sorrow,
wouldst try to deny thy death.
for thou played thy part to a most excellent fare-thee-well.
‘Til my last breath –
for knowing that ne’er shall I see
the one to follow thee grow as large as thou wast,
I mourn thee.