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This poem is taken from PN Review 164, Volume 31 Number 6, July - August 2005.

From Ovidian Follies: Criton Stanley Moss

Among ancient trees, there stood a colossal Oak
that protected others for a thousand years.
When earthquakes levelled temples and their marble Gods,
the Sacred Oak protected the Greek countryside.
Even when lightning seized it by the throat,
it sheltered fieldworkers, orchards, nests and hives.
How many lovers had slept below its branches?
In summer, but especially in winter
when there was snow, birds and butterflies
alighted on its branches in such numbers
passing armies would lay down their weapons
surrendering, it seemed, to beauty.

Profane Criton, the Tyrant, in need of timber,
drove away lovers, gave orders to his slaves
to cut down the colossal Oak. He boasted,
'The great tree may be the one the Goddess loves most,
...


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