Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Artifacts on a Hanging Tree, Goliad, Texas (a series of 70 Mexican Lynchings, 1857)

“Site for court sessions at various times from 1846 to 1870. Capital sentences called for by the courts were carried out immediately, by means of a rope and a convenient limb. Hangings not called for by regular coursts occurred here during the 1857 “cart war”—a series of attacks made by Texas freighters against Mexican drivers along the Indianola-Goliad/San Antonion Road. 
About 70 men were killed, some of them on this tree, before the war was halted by Texas Rangers.”
—State Historical Survey Committee Texas Marker near the tree

Last 5 TripAdvisor Reviews of Goliad’s Hanging Tree, as of 6/23/18
          Title: Love old court houses (6/20/18)
          Review: This hanging tree was just a bonus on the court house square and the history that took place there was moving.

          Title: Spooky when you think of the tree’s use! (6/18/18)
          Review: One of the sites in Goliad is the hanging tree a beautiful tree which was used to mete out “justice” after trials.

          Title: Beauty of a tree (6/19/18)
          Review: Well the name sort of says it all, but that is a beautiful tree. The courthouse is a class Texas courthouse, so the day was great.

          Title: Interesting in a gruesome kind of way (5/27/18)
          Review: This is a huge oak tree outside of the courthouse in Goliad. You really can picture the sentences being carried out.

          Title: Huge old live oak tree (5/7/18)
          Review: The tree is located in the center of town on the grounds of the county courthouse. The tree has quiet the history.
          When convicted, the prisoner was walked outside and hanged from this magnificent live oak tree.


TalkToTheOakTree:AskTheCityTo TearYouDown.CityFortifiesWithStone.AskTownToGoIntoHiding.StateErectsMetalPlaque.AskTouriststoLeave.AndTheyTestYourStrengthToHoldTheirWeight.AskThemIfTheyNoticeYourShadow'sShapeIsAMassBurialOfTwitchingLegs.LetThemMemory.
 

El árbol, No. 10, as a series of narrowing translations:
El que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija. |...| He who nears a good tree, is blanketed by good shade. |...| The one that comes to a good tree, good shadow blankets them. |...| To near the tree, receive a blanket of shadow. |...| To near the tree is to blanket yourself in darkness.

Credit


From Borderland Apocrypha (Omnidawn Publishing, 2020) by Anthony Cody. Copyright © 2020 by Anthony Cody. Used with permission of the Permissions Company on behalf of Omnidawn Publishing.

Author


Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody grew up in Fresno, California, and has an MFA from California State University in Fresno. He is the author of Borderland Apocrypha (Omnidawn, 2020), winner of the 2018 Omnidawn Open Book Contest selected by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Cody has received fellowships from CantoMundo, the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio, and Desert Nights, Rising Stars. A member of the Hmong American Writers' Circle, he coedited How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011). Cody is the communications manager for CantoMundo and an associate poetry editor for Noemi Press.

Date Published: 2020-03-15

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/artifacts-hanging-tree-goliad-texas-series-70-mexican-lynchings-1857