Under the Shedding Sycamore

With apologies to Henry W…

Under the shedding sycamore tree
The irritated gardener stands;
The gardener, a busy woman is she
With aching back and hands,
And the muscles of her flabby arms
Are weak as rubber bands.

What, what to do with all that bark?
Now strewn out all around
It covers the the porch, the roof, the yard,
And every scrap of ground.
Why are apples in short supply,
Yet worthless bark abounds?

Her back is tired from bending,
The garden cart piled high
With quirky pieces of papery bark–
There a nose, there a mouth, an eye
A mask of camouflage, faces of wood
Still all on the grass they lie.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear the litter fall,
Achenes in spring, bark in summer
Giant brown leaves in fall.
And the branches come down every season
With no regard for all.

Cursed, cursed are those who planted
This regal sycamore
With no thought to it’s future girth or height
Just ten feet from the door,
When we would prefer its litter to fall
All on the forest floor.

Onward through the yard she goes;
Each morning sees the same task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
How long, how long must this go on
Before she has earned repose?

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Don’t plant a sycamore near thy house
Or all thy days will be fraught
With leaves, achenes, bark, and twigs
And thy battle will come to nought.

25 thoughts on “Under the Shedding Sycamore

  1. My California Pepper trees have been shedding leaves, flowers, and now fine twiggy stems that stick to Maggie’s fur or ball up like a giant brillo pad. This time of year I hate these trees but they provide shade on the house in late afternoon.

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  2. What a delight this post is with easy and humorous rhyme and rhythm telling the tale of a futile battle and with photographs to accompany the story. It’s difficult to write a poem that flows so well and make it look and sound easy, and you did it. Your poetic gift brightened my day. And made me happy we don’t have a sycamore tree!

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  3. We have a huge sycamore here in Illinois man next door hates the tree we have lived here 30 years shedding more this year then any other year the sticks the leaves the seed balls he had his big maple trees cut down he wants everyone to cut their trees down tree man coming out in a week told us not to cut that tree down he will cut limbs back that hang over that man’s yard

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    • I’m no tree expert, but I’ve read wet summers encourages them to shed their bark more. This is the worst shedding year we’ve had also. A tree guy we talked to a few years ago told us that mature healthy trees can be pruned back by a third and still remain healthy. Don’t listen to the bully on the block. :-) I bet his place looks just lovely without the big maple trees. Not.


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