Poetry for Pete's sake

Hazel Dell residents Jack Davis, 78, and Jim Kinney, 61, have made their opposition to the Luke Jensen Sports Park quite clear.

They’ve expressed it in a number of ways: asking members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to drink stormwater from the site; asking county commissioners how they can justify spending millions on a park when people are losing their jobs and their homes; and asking county commissioners how they can justify building a park on a Superfund site.

Despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s reassurance that there’s no danger of exposure from building the ball fields and the fact the park is being built with dedicated park funds that couldn’t be used to support homeless veterans (a group Davis and Kinney frequently single out as being in need), not to mention that construction is getting underway, the two continue to beat the drum.

On Tuesday, Kinney expressed his disgust at the decision to clear trees from a portion of the 20-acre site in a form not usually heard during public comment.

He read a poem.

Kinney recited “Trees,” by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), but then added original rhyming couplets.

Here’s Kilmer’s poem:

I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest/Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day/And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear/A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain/Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me/But only God can make a tree.

Here’s Kinney’s original prose, complete with a reference to the director of Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation:

Why hath the parks department come to take/Trees, all 402, for Pete Mayer’s sake?

God shall look down and deal with plunder/And ask why is the field thrown asunder

For asroturf God has disdain/And baseball fields on a toxic waste site is not God’s game

For no one can create a tree/Except God, you see

While Kinney was dramatic about making his point, Commissioner Marc Boldt was more subtle with his response.
Didn’t the Audubon Society approve of the plan? he asked Commissioner Steve Stuart.
Yes, Stuart said.

Next week, fingers crossed: An ode to the Columbia River Crossing?

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