ethelís words

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
when I was a child,
planted trees across these plains.
The dust was wild in the wind, wild winds
where fools uprooted the giant grass,
rich-soil wealth of centuries
and turned it to the sunís hot breath
and winterís hammer.

Children of the dust bowl,
with saddened eyes,
gazed on the powdered earth,
drifted like dark snow
against the barn, against the house,
roofing the sky.

Now, half a century beyond the act,
the trees that Roosevelt planted
spear the wide sky
where the buffalo lived and died,
and children today suppose
the trees grew there forever.

The buffalo grass is gone, and Earth
that turned to dust is Earth again
and corn grows tall and wheat
murmurs a soft song
to August wind.  Rain wants to fall
where there is music;
rain shuns barren silence.

FDR created a signature of trees
that birds read from the sky,
and history will decipher
branch by branch, season after season.


Ethel C. Hale