The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Vanishing Chestnut

By Eunice Y. McAlexander © 1983

Issue: May, 1983

On yonder hill
A twisted silhouette against a leaden sky
With limbs forever bare
A giant chestnut stands,

A gray ghost gesturing of years gone by.
Tassels of velvet cream no more it bears
Nor notched leaf, nor smooth brown-hulled nuts;
No rising tide of earthen drink

Stirs twigs to growth again;
No more the sleek brown sprouts are ventured forth
In quest of sun and air and life;
The very roots are dead.

The wind in its gaunt branches whines a tune
Of grief for fallen fellows of its kind:
“No more, no more, tall trees, no more,
Lone remnant of a broken line!”