The Last Oak

by Nelson Tinnel

On a barren hill all alone

clings a tiny oak 

to a jagged stone

The loggers came

with wheel and claw

No longer they use the axe and saw

No more the horse with chain and hook

with blade and claw

the earth they took

They stripped the land

and scarred its skin deep to the stone

like a wounded thing with fractured bone

The trees, their roots were its veins

and now the streams their blood stains

This tiny oak, will it stand?

for 100 years on this barren land

Can its seed find root on this skeletal rock

‘til men come again and seem to mock

the laws of god that they forgot

Nelson Tinnel is a resident of Birch River, in Nicholas County, West Virginia.