Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Ghazal of Treaty Oak

Great Treaty Oak, a poisoned husk,
bent boughs beneath this ashen dusk.

The deals we reached beneath this tree
portended its pale and broken dusk.

I always dreamed I’d shoot your scenes
beneath theses branches at golden dusk.

Long years and days withered away
and swallowed you in barren dusk.

Odd limbs still live and mingle with
new high rise lines in token dusk.

Somehow you found the way back home
all through the long moth-eaten dusk.

And the songs of city birds suggest
the dawn of some new-woven dusk.

This is for Joseph Harker’s Reverie 14: Ghazal Boot Camp using some of the words from Wordle 51 at The Sunday Whirl.

Note for non-Austinites: Treaty Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak in downtown Austin. In 1989 some jackass poisoned it. After a major recovery effort, it survived and said jackass went to jail for a good long time. It’s still a big tree but only a fraction of its former self, yet ten years later it started releasing acorns again.


  1. I love the way you tell the story of the Treaty Oak. I always winder about the history the oldest trees have witnessed.

  2. Excellent ghazal and very encouraging story about the tree.

  3. encouraging that is that it is recovering,

  4. nice ghazal — love all the unexpected adjectives you paired with dusk.

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