Legal Trees

(In homage to Joyce Kilmer, pursuant to Section 103 of Copyright Laws—Title 17, U.S. Code—heretofore referenced under the pains and penalties of plagiarism.)

I think that I shall never see,
Notwithstanding any past, present, or future visions,
A poem lovely as a tree—the word tree
Used herein to include her, his, or its respective
Limbs, leaves, bark, roots,
Sap (if said tree proves maple), knotholes,
Birds, squirrels, insects, agents, and servants.
If more than one tree is mentioned herein,
The images, similes, metaphors, and allusions
Shall be the joint and several obligations of each such tree
Through no fault of its own.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest [sic]
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast
In the event that no receptacles, vehicles, baby carriages,
Or other like equipment
Obstruct the common ground as heretofore described.
A tree that, pursuant to religious beliefs
not set forth herein, looks at God all day,
And lifts her, his, or its leafy arms, in a manner authorized
Linder lawful convenant, to pray.
A tree that may in Summer wear,
To the most practical extent under the circumstances,
A nest of robins in her, his, or its hair;
Provided that the aforementioned birds,
Their spouses, friends, relatives, invitees, visitors,
Agents, servants, and any offspring born to them
Shall neither make nor suffer any noisy, unclean,
Or otherwise offensive use of said tree.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain, hereupon and until
The reasonable cessation of said rain,
Or until the expiration and termination of said tree
Bv exercise of the power of eminent terrain,
Or by the action and authority of strong wind, lightning,
Chain saw, Dutch elm disease (if said tree proves Dutch elm),
Or any other natural or unnatural force,
Unless otherwise stipulated in writing.
Poems are made by fools like me,1
But only God,
And no other instrument of like tenor,
Can make a legal tree.
  1. ‘Subject to applicable law