Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: The Case Against a Sugar Maple
By Beth LaBuff
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In the gusty frigid air,
A small arboreal assembly
Launched a civic woods affair.
‘Twas a hearing, in this clearing,
Of a sugar maple tree,
To ascertain her state of mind,
To gauge competency.
Witnesses were singly summoned
Forth and testified.
The conifers and evergreens,
Compelled by law, complied.
Presiding o’er this hearing was
The magistrate, a fowl.
And all esteemed the wisdom
Of the worthy great horned owl.
The first to testify, blue spruce,
“She’s a pathetic sight,
High atop a branch she keeps
A tethered kite in flight.”
“Perhaps she has a syndrome
Or is daft, to some degree.
Her trunk is thick, her branches dense.
She seems out of her tree.”
“Your honor, I have knowledge of
Some things we can’t condone.
She runs a house for boarders though
For business, she’s not zoned.”
“When frigid weather hit, birds flew—
Eviction of her tenants!
For this and other crimes we must
Insist this tree do penance!”
“Without a permit, rodents came.
They brought some nuts and fruit.
A hollow branch— her doggie bag
Where squirrels stashed their loot.”
A charge of “addled” pierced the chill.
Her verdict appeared dim.
As if to validate their claim,
Her kite looped ‘round a limb.
The owl reminded witnesses,
His words abrupt and blunt,
“You can’t pronounce her guilty,
Assume she’s innocent.”
Then douglas fir confided to
The court, his voice austere,
“I’ve witnessed bats fly unimpeded
In her upper sphere.”
“Masked bandits came with banded tails,
Were harbored from the law.
She should be hewn for firewood
Before the first spring thaw.”
“One final thing to seal our case,
A proof you can’t ignore,
She doffed her crimson autumn coat—
Littered our forest floor.”
As ending arguments were heard,
In blew a balmy breeze.
Soon buds appeared on maple’s limbs
She sprouted bright green leaves.
To their surprise, the robins then
Returned to build their nest.
The plaintiffs, without arguments,
Receded to the forest.
Owl hooted, “Whooo’ll accuse you now?
There’s none left in our midst.”
She clapped her limbs together.
The owl sighed, “Case dismissed.”
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