There’s development smell on the breeze,
‘Burbs spreading like a disease:
Bullldozing blokes
Felling maples and oaks
Then naming new streets after trees.



39 responses »

    • A limerick is a delightful thing for making a sharp point with “lightness” as you’ve nicely phrased it….and a good exercise for poets. I’m glad Edward Lear escorted it out of the bawdy tavern (though there are some corkers there) and into a more sanguine land of wit. Thank you for your lovely comment!

  1. Well written and so true. My son-in-law recently commented that developers always name streets after the elements which have been obliterated by the development, hence Austin’s Bee Caves, Wild Raisin, River View, and Foster Ranch, or as you note Oak and Maple.

  2. Love it. Development is not always improvement!! We have a street here called Dennenweg (Pine way) where there used to be pines, and, as “weg” also means “gone” , that name seems appropriate πŸ™‚

  3. Just yesterday, some dear lady in Hamilton (the thriving metropolis of the island, population 46) chained herself to a tree that was scheduled for deportation (a euphemism for being granted an interview with the wood chipper). And why should such a tree be deracinated? What crime did it commit? It stands in the way of progress, naturally. Ask any alderman. Besides, is there anything more unsightly than a messy tree carpeting pristine asphalt with pea-green leaves? I have to confess I’m firmly in the camp of the alderman (always am); I only wish such bureaucrats would address the growing problem of tiny, defenseless critters such as ants and bees. It goes without saying that the wood chipper would have to be modified to accommodate smaller matter–but heck, that’s what science is for, isn’t it?

    And, as with any good poem, the response is longer than the poem itself!

    • Your island has a wood chipper? Mirabile dictu! Next you’ll tell me you have an Oracle and I will extrapolate that you secretly aspire to be the alderman yourself! ( That IS the man inside the Alder tree who vaticinates isn’t it?)

      I do appreciate your comments, however long, wide, or deep.

      • Though it is true that I aspire to the monarchical office of alderman, secretly wishing to govern Hamilton, with its 47 residents–yes, at 4 o’clock this hazy morn a baby girl named Mirabilis was born–I have enough problems just trying to be Prospero, thought it must be said that Ariel is of great value, as no better partnering cold be imagined, for magic, trickery, and daedal deceit (oh the charm of alliteration!) is hard work, and with my habit of writing long and shallow comments, I have my hands full.

  4. Ah, wonderful little poem, Cynthia – on a subject dear to my heart. I can hear the trees weeping as they’re being cleared away – in the name of “development”.
    (Reminds me of Joni Mitchell’s song…. “… you take all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum, then you charge all the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.”)

    Yes, the irony!

  5. Great little limerick here, Cynthia. Last line sums up what happens with these developments perfectly. Out of curiosity, I looked up the street names in a new development in my (ahem) neck of the woods in England. I found an Appletree Drive and a Broomhouse Lane, and more on the way of course…

    • Thanks! Will Broomhouse lane be restricted to witches? Naming could be such an imaginative enterprise, but then there would probably be more disagreement about the decision so I guess bland predictability is best. Can you just picture the committee sitting around, deciding? Personally, I’ve always coveted the job of those who get to name the hurricanes….

  6. The Zehrs that paved over an entire forest was named, Hartsland, for the deer that used to roam there. What does this kind of naming do? It certainly didn’t take my guilt away.

  7. Ah, so many things to be grateful that I don’t have to deal with anymore. Here we are surrounded by the smells of flowers, herbs and in a few weeks, wine being fermented. Well done Cynthia!

  8. Very true, and a powerful few lines! 😦 Very, very foolishly true, to annihilate beautiful trees and then call the road Beach Tree Avenue or Orchard Way. Seems a bit of an insult to the trees! Sounds so lovely, but not so lovely when you know what was there before. I grew up on a small housing estate in a village where our lovely new council home that we were so desperate for was actually built on an apple orchard. I used to sit in the garden sometimes on a summer day and try and imagine all those lovely apple trees, and our garden in a shady woody atmosphere. We all need somewhere to live, but there are sometimes empty fields that can be built on, but no – it will often be the woods that get flattened for essential housing. Money, and moving people in the direction that someone wants them to is all that seems to matter.

    • It’s pretty easy to become depressed and cynical about those developers, isn’t it….and, as you point out, at the same time, there’s the need for new/more housing. At least you had the gift to imagine the Apple trees…the good luck of a natural poet!

  9. Hi, hi, Cynthia,

    Came here tonight from Bruces “Flowering Cherry Lane”. Your limerick, his post…good (of course)–both infuriating. Because preaching to the choir. No changing of minds, no reaching the culturally-different. Frustrating; infuriating. It is not just big business or major developers. There are cultures with large numbers of members who consider all deciduous trees “messy” because they drop their leaves, and all growing plants outside of pots messy-looking or inconvenient.

    Yards of owned homes are often immediately replaced, not with drought-tolerant plantings, but with cement or bricks, and a few meager potted plants. The only trees valued are those which bear food.

    Some of my students thought that pictures intended to represent climate ugliness (land cracked in pieces from drought) was extremely attractive, but they found green pasture and trees to be ugly. This is a reversal of the green environment preference seems our biological programming: That research thus far has found children thrive in: Less violence, more happiness, better school performance. Indications growing that adults are similarly affected by improved mood with increased greenery exposure.

    That fact that many humans don’t value greenery is, to me, just one sign of many that our species is diseased.

    • Those who consider trees “messy” are control freaks who perhaps despise the natural because it does not conform to their own tight-assed wishes. I think they must despise their own natures— themselves— most of all. A truly unhappy state of affairs. Great rant, Babe.

      • Thank you, Cynthia, esp. since, upon reread, I see it could have used an earlier reread to correct grammar and structure. Eh. The choppiness improves its rantiness–one can almost sense the wild hair and flying spittle.

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