Thursday, February 04, 2010

'I think that I shall never see ... '

(Something more interesting for you, while the council debates wording of its Focus Area Documents - "public" safety vs. "community" safety vs. "Focus Area Two"):

Those readers interested in the sidewalk v. trees issue from Park Road (story here, editorial here) might enjoy this 1952 exchange of letters between Ray Warren, executive director, Greensboro Housing Authority, and H.L. Medford, Greensboro director of public works.

In a March 18, 1952 letter, Warren asks that a huge oak tree on Florida Street not be removed for a sidewalk. His letter uses some effusive prose, ends with Joyce Kilmer's ode to trees: "I think that I shall never see," etc. etc.

Medford, in a March 21, 1952, response, uses even more florid prose ("The poet, drunk with the goodness of nature, nature as moulded by the hand of God with no adulterations of mimicing man ...") and concludes with a parody of the famous Kilmer poem:

I think that I shall never see
A tree where a tree shouldn't be;
A tree whose hungry roots are pressed
Into the sewer, choking its breast.
A tree that drops its leaves all day
and clogs all drains unless we pray,
A tree that may in summer tear
A block of street and cause grey hair
Its branches on the street are lain,
They must be removed in torrents of rain;
It heaves the walk day by day
An accident occurs: the City must pay!
Nobody loves a tree like me
but I like a tree where a tree should be.

And, Medford's letter concludes: "In other words, Ray, I still think the tree should be removed."

Two immediate observations:
1. I don't think city bureaucrats today write as well, or as poetically.
2. I'm glad municipal public works officials today aren't quite so anti-tree as to think none belong in a city!


consultant said...

Step out of the country for a week and you can see we are falling behind.

Here's the future "low tax folks" are begging for:

I'm right; you're wrong said...

And here's the future "high tax folks" are begging for:,9171,873465,00.html

consultant said...


I agree. Much of Detroit's decline is due to Republican/neocon policies. Most of the top brass running the car companies are deep dyed Republicans.

You should be proud. The Palin/Wall St. crowd has achieved most of their goals.

Who needs Al Quaida when we've got home grown Wall St. banksters.

Anonymous said...

She's back.

Anonymous said...

The "high tax" crowd makes absolutely no sense. How can raising taxes help individuals? If high taxes and printing money were the answers to our economic situation then we would all be wealthy. How much money has been printed in the last two years?

Anonymous said...

We are in BIG trouble.

J said...

That 1952 response letter was quite witty, and I don't think he was saying that trees do not belong in the city. I think he meant to point out to tree-huggers who think every tree removal is evil and the end of civilization as we know it that trees can in fact have negative impacts as well as positive. I am still flabbergasted that the Park Rd protesters (and some commenters on this blog) actually think putting a sidewalk in front of their houses will destroy their properties' values and appearance.

Everything isn't the end of the world, and there is always a compromise between opposing views.

Anonymous said...

I drive by those properties every single afternoon. Removing those trees will make the drive different. It also reminds me of Wendover but no one is actually from here to remember that.

Pathmaker said...

Funny thing about sidewalks ...once they are installed no one complains that they don't fit. They become a natural part of the urban environment. And yes, they do add value to the adjacent properties. Ever seen a real-estate add that boasts about the neighborhood being sidewalk-free?