Lombardy Poplars


They lined both sides of streets
     In older Utah towns
         And bordered close-in fields—
             Planted no further apart than fence posts—
                 As alien in the West as settlers were.

Their thick-ribbed trunks and heart-shaped leaves
     Marked them kin to native cottonwoods,
         But with that peculiar spire-like form
             That spaced so close, quickly
                 Made a hedge fifty feet tall.

It was always said that they
     Were planted as windbreaks.
         And true, the sweep of wind
             Through empty valleys
                 Could do with some impediment.

But was it that the Eastern men
     Emerging from their forest groves
         That ever blocked the distant view
             Found the scale just too immense
                 And needed walls against the space.

About the author(s)

John S. Harris is a professor of English at Brigham Young University.


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Print ISSN: 2837-0031
Online ISSN: 2837-004X