Wednesday, July 4, 2018

doom on the mountain side

the adelgid, our cousin?

the hemlock adelgid is hungry,
and, unchecked, they unconsciously kill countless hemlocks
in these Smoky Mountains,
great brown red barked trees
crash down in every storm,
lichens hanging onto their fissured bark
as if foreshadowing their fall,
like ghosts on the mountain side,
dead hemlock march up and down slope after slope,
whispering at us a sense of potential doom,

the adelgid did not evolve in these mountains,
so natural controls on its population aren’t here, yet,
no predators, diseases, serve as conscience
to help it not doom itself by destroying its own food source,

how like humans it is,
we who forget that population and environment
need to find a balance,
the imperative to reproduce is a vital drive,
but one that needs some kind of governor,

I fear we can be the adelgid’s cousin as we over-reach.

by Henry H. Walker
June 30, ‘18

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