ABOVE - The College’s magnificent elm tree, a
descendent of the tree under which General George Washington took
command of the American forces in 1775, was planted in the center of
campus in 1928. Sixty-three years later, terminally afflicted
with Dutch elm disease, the tree was taken down, limb by limb.
This poem was found pinned to the tree:
Ode to the Washington Elm
dear old tree…
Try. Please fight for your life.
I, We, beseech thee.
Or are you tired?
Tired of bearing the brittle weight of your age
and of listening to the crackings and rattle of your
so patient and tolerant of our struggles
to keep you.
You cannot be made to stay;
already you have graced us for so long.
If you are tired, then go…
freed from the stab of our saws and the indignity
of our machines.
You’ll no longer be audience to the dramas we’ve
beneath your green curtain.
Leave us, if you must.
But not to be parceled off to the hard white skies
and never to go to ash in some unholy fire lit
who do not know you,
or love you,
Better to heave one last sigh
and fall to ground here.
with dedication to molder to earth…here,
and be hallowed still,