Wednesday, August 29

Trees in Poetry & Prose

photo by Maureen Shaughnessy ©

Native Trees

Neither my father nor my mother knew
the names of the trees
where I was born
what is that
I asked and my
father and mother did not
hear they did not look where I pointed
surfaces of furniture held
the attention of their fingers
and across the room they could watch
walls they had forgotten
where there were no questions
no voices and no shade

Were there trees
where they were children
where I had not been
I asked
were there trees in those places
where my father and mother were born
and in that time did
my father and mother see them
and when they said yes it meant
they did not remember
What were they I asked what were they
but both my father and my mother
said they never knew

-W.S. Merwin©


Tree, gather up my thoughts
like the clouds in your branches.
Draw up my soul
like the waters in your root.

In the arteries of your trunk
bring me together.
Through your leaves
breathe out the sky.
- J. Daniel Beaudry ©
published in Nature in Legend and Story

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, That we may record our emptiness.
-Kahlil Gibran, from Sand and Foam

Under the Walnut Tree

When I face what has left my life,
I bow. I walk outside into the cold,
rain nesting in my hair.
All the houses near me
have their lights on. Somewhere,
there is a deep listening.
I stand in the dark for a long time
under the walnut tree, unable
to tell anyone, not even the night,
what I know. I feel the darkness
rush towards me, and I open my arms

– Lynn Martin © From Blue Bowl (Blue Begonia Press)

Alone with myself
The trees bend
to carress me
The shade hugs
my heart.
- by Candy Polgar ©

I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.

- Wendell Berry © from Collected Poems
(North Point Press)

photo by Ric McArthur ©

Fern-Leafed Beech

This tree listened
when my husband died.
I leaned my head
against its trunk
and cried.
No words passed,
but I took its strength
and knew
that life at last
secretly transforms
until what is seen
becomes unseen,
and what has been
is still to be.

-Moyra Caldecott©

a few other links:
Solitary Trees
find other poets' work at
Trees in Myth and Legend
Spirit of Trees