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Of Trees and E's

by William A. Holt
(for Ruth, who is teaching Composition II on the Net)
I think that I shall never see
An e-mail lovely as a tree.
However well the service works,
However free of nasty quirks
Like letters lost in cyberspace,
And garbage that I must erase
To see what some poor soul might need,
And things attached that I can't read
Without some recent program I
Don't have and must go out and buy--
Even if such were not the case,
There's still the problem of the pace
At which the stuff appears to me:
So different from any tree.

Behold a bunch of trees together
In sunny or in stormy weather
Stretch graceful limbs against the sky
Or bend to earth; you can rely
On trees to do one thing quite well:
No matter where they choose to dwell
They will not shock you with their numbers
Because each seed they scatter slumbers
A decent while within the earth
Before it springs to radiant birth,
And as it grows it takes its time
While you behold its charming climb.
You watch it, and you grow serene
Viewing the slowly changing scene;
And you can plan around a tree
Because it grows like you and me.

But oh, Good Lord, the Internet
Shows no such mercy; I am met
Each morn with such a flood of mail
That my best will can scarce avail
To cope with the onrushing tide
Of more than I can well abide
Of stuff that needs my prompt attention
Until I curse the foul invention
That keeps me up and makes me go,
Makes me wonder, will it slow
Enough for me to eat my lunch--
Oh, no, here comes another bunch!!

I fear I'll sink in cyber-fen
And never see a tree again.

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Copyright © 1998 by William A. Holt. All rights reserved.