The Old Snag

It’s just an old snag.
Worthless old wood, not even
useful for firewood. Worm-eaten,
brittle and in chards.
But look closer beneath the
crevices and crannies.
The dried-out heartwood still
tells the stories a hundred – fold.
Several human lifetimes
lived out in its rings and bark.

Is it a hazard to those
who walk beneath it
or ancient parchment on which
was written the tales
of a younger forest when
primary succession’s new growth
was verdant and fresh to behold.

Aesthetic eyesore to the parvenu
but mother earth knows best.
Wildlife treasure the cover it provides,
unsteady seedlings find a scaffold
to stand against the elements
and nourishment to grow strong
in a land of competition.

No act of death is beautiful,
not even of beautiful things.
It’s the end we all face –
it all goes away. But
there may be a beauty found
in death, revealing new life.

I choose to go out as an old snag
where children and lovers can sit
and animals climb with birds
nesting and fledging their young
and other trees plant their seed in
my decaying wood so my slow death
feeds them with minerals and truth
and life carries on, none more important
than the last.


Poem by Margie B. Klein

Margie B. Klein is a 30-plus year veteran writer on nature, and has had the pleasure of contributing for Tiny Seed before. She holds degrees in the natural sciences and is certified in environmental education, nature interpretation, and ecopsychology.