That line of stately poplars
Defines the main avenue
Up to the great house on this
Dignified, historic, if not dilapidated
Estate; those trees, the last of
The heraldry of the Ancien Régime
That once defined the closest thing
To caste an American Society has, and
They are the last witnesses to days
Of brighter glory when erstwhile
Industrialists and philanthropists
Tried their hand at raising the sights
Of the poor and displaced among them.
Trouble was, that dream was false, for
The Invitation to better one’s lot was
But a mirage. True advancement never
Was the object, for none of “them”
Would ever set foot in the gentlemen’s
Clubs, nor worship from the front pew
Of the Presbyterian Church, or be
Elected to office in this town, to that Council.
But winds of change do blow and when they strike
Those poplars, erstwhile stalwarts of an inflexible
Social structure suddenly were bowing and scraping
And doing homage to the gale-force winds of
Fermenting reform. The secret to the trees’ survival
Is to accommodate and adjust to prevailing trends
And offer the path of least resistance. And the elements
Believe they are accomplishing something significant.
But movements falter, enthusiasm wanes and the
Hoi Polloi do have miserable lives to get back to:
Children to raise, bread on the table, propagation
Of the next desperate working class generation.
The cause be left for yet another day, and those poplars,
Once erstwhile accommodators to the forces that would
Move them, return to their former stately function
Of dividing lines of property and inheritance to which
None of “them” will ever gain admittance.
The more things change….
© 2017 david w palmer
Auburn, Washington, USA