Pine Mountain Cemetery XII
Doc and the Poplar Tree

Popular trees built this country. There
Is the myth that the mighty Chestnut
Wins that prize, but it had other uses.

When Doc Parks was laid to rest, crowds
Of grateful people took the hard journey
Past this one stump to witness his burying.

No wonder. Some sixty years of cutting
Us open on the kitchen table, birthin’
Babies in Granny’s bed, wound stitchin’,

Bone setting and even tight holding
When the answer was no earned his
Place in heaven and a big funeral.

Back then before kids got so important
They can even eat at first table, I got
Pushed to the back where I belonged.

Not seeing I climbed to sit on a relic,
The cemetery’s Poplar stump. Room
Enough for three big people it stood.

Rings of time marked maybe three hundred
Years and bored I counted ‘til I ran out then
Made up more to seventy eleven and past.

This tree could have built fifty houses. Top
Reached way beyond the neighbor Pines.
A target, she must have been easy to spot.

What a lot of life that tree stood over, wars,
Moonshiners, lovers, with storms enough
To fell weaker sisters growing in that grove.

Same with old doc, now sleeping in that box.
Most of the crowd alive and well because he
Never slept an easy night or finished a meal.

Doctors and Poplars might seem a pair
Contraire, it was a Poplar that showed me
Mourning that much life was our anchor.