Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - In the Trees

On a recent trip to New Jersey I had to smile when we passed the Joyce Kilmer rest stop. While Trees is much maligned, I've always liked it. In fact, the women in my high school choir sang this poem put to music.
by Joyce Kilmer

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

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's 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.
As spring is busting out all over here, it's the trees that have captured my attention. They are, quite simply, breathtaking. So, let's write about trees. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. I'm hoping to write something new. But in the meantime, here's an old personal favorite about our Benign Neglect Forest.


    The apple tree and the rose belong to the same family.
    This fact left me perplexed at first, and yet, it is fully
    understandable. What family doesn't have its thorny
    members as well as those who are polished until they
    shine? Those who produce and those who live only
    to be admired? Those who bend and those who snap
    in the gentlest breeze? In a forest of family trees none
    are perfectly aligned, but all send their roots down deep.

    © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

  3. Rescuing a Sugar Maple
    By Steven Withrow

    “You’ve got creeping rot and wood blight
    choking off the lower leaders,”
    he offers, chipping green fungus
    from dried bark with a golf pencil,
    “but good news is, the trunk’s still whole.”

    I’d read about dieback, sunscald,
    and other scourges of young trees,
    of parasites that shred the leaves
    or cleave the roots, but the problem,
    he assures me, is with the soil.

    “Your lawn’s a touch too alkaline
    for healthy growth. These maples here
    like a better acid balance.”
    All right, I think, it’s chemical,
    and something can be done at least.

    He bends and spears a mushroom cap
    with a graphite point, and he frowns
    at me as though I’d drowned a prize
    orchid: “When’s the last time you limed,
    or tilled and reseeded all this?”

    I confess to him we’ve been lax
    in our stewardship of our lot,
    preferring the milder science
    (admittedly more of an art)
    of let-nature-follow-its-course.

    He shrugs and starts to mark his pad—
    a figure with a dollar sign.
    “Art,” he says, and waits a moment
    before handing over the bill,
    “is crabgrass, weeds, and dead shade trees.”

    ©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  4. Hi. I'm back with something new that's tree related: Limerick Ode To Print Newspapers.

  5. I think that I shall never read,
    And maybe I will never need
    A poem as vital as a seed.

    A seed needs sun and time and rain.
    Those elements can all explain,
    And make the metaphor so plain.

    Thus tree or poem, they are the same
    and bring their planter each some fame,
    Though given each a different name.

    For trees are made by seeds, you see.
    And poems can grow quite naturally
    When planted in a fool like me.

    ©2011 Jane Yolen All rights reserved

  6. Tree Speech

    I have friends that don't talk much.
    Each word matters and I listen
    hard for those words.

    Trees are like that. Quiet companions,
    tall and green, with their heads
    in the clouds. But once in a while,

    when a wind walks by, trees
    speak. And their words shiver
    through me like leaves.

    --Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

  7. Tree and Me

    at first the dirt
    all black and soft
    is all that I can see

    but momma says
    that dirt's the bed
    that blankets trees-to-be

    even one with
    branches that have
    clouds for company

    begins a tiny
    yellow seed
    before it's called a tree

    I listen to
    what momma says
    and check it patiently

    'cause springtime means
    a flash of green
    will show eventually

    a curled and furled
    new sapling's meant
    to grow up just like me

    copyright (c) 2011 Carolyn Arcabascio, all rights reserved.

  8. 'TREES' was the first poem I memorized, the only one I remember from grade school. It was also my mom's favorite poem, which I read for her at her funeral. Thanks, Tricia!


    flakes of
    snow flutter

    naked limbs
    of impatient trees

    to hold out
    their branches

    sun rays to
    clothe them in

    tender rouge
    chartreuse fashions.

    © 2011 Carol Weis, all rights reserved

  9. Here's mine:
    Was a great prompt.