A handful of Auburn students gathered late yesterday afternoon at Toomer’s Corner for “Remembering Our Roots,” a 90 minute long public reading of nature-themed poetry, fiction, and nonfiction celebrating “the traditions associated with the oaks at Toomer’s Corner” organized by Auburn University’s Student Writing Council.
According to Auburn senior and SWC President Scott Fenton, they mostly got “puzzled looks.”
“I think they (passersby) kind of thought we were preaching or something,” Fenton says.
“We were mainly just organized to have the readers there, and for people to listen as they walked by.”
Those that did listen might have heard two original works actually inspired by the Toomer’s Oaks.
“We had a couple of people read something about the oaks,” Fenton says. “One person read a short prose piece about the oaks’ significance, and then we had someone read a poem specifically about the Toomer’s Oaks.”
Auburn freshman Mason Allen, who was still in high school when the oaks were poisoned, says he wrote the poem specifically for the event. He sent it to us.
To Toomer’s Trees
For ages, you stood like stones
Against fierce winds,
And towering foes.
In victory, you stood proud,
Sheathed in white streams of glory.
In defeat, solemn silence
Graced your firm branches.
But in all times,
For menace and mirth,
You stood tall,
With arms raised
And strength true.
But no longer.
Like spent warriors,
You kneel for eternal rest,
Never again to keep
The ancient vigil.
But let not despair be the song
Of this anointing day,
For generations forever hence shall know
That here stood noble titans,
Heralds of victory,
The oaken guards of honor.
Here stood the vigilant,
The fountains of life,
And the cradles of hope.
Depart, weary champions,
And though our hearts be heavy
And our eyes clouded,
Know that this sacred grove
Shall radiate always
With your stout spirit,
Your hallowed residue,
And aspirations everlasting.
Allen, who’s poetry will be featured in the upcoming issue the Auburn Circle, says he’ll attend the oaks’ final rolling.
“I feel like I should be there. I’m an Auburn student. I just want to express my respects.”
The oaks have less than a week left.
Two days after the news broke that they had been poisoned, a local cellist set up shop at Toomer’s Corner to pay his respects to the trees in song. Watch the video here.
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