Category Archives: Trees

Honoring the trees today (Arbor Day, April 29, 2016)


More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another.  A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs–all this resinous, unretractable earth.

–Jane Hirshfield, American poet, born 1953


What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?
~ Pablo Neruda


He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~ Lucy Larcom


Happy Arbor Day — April 26, 2013!

I’m not sure what it is with trees. Perhaps for people who live with oaks and elms and maples, their shade in the summer, their vibrant colors in the autumn, their announcement of rebirth in the spring and their bareness in winter, all of these changes mark our lives from year to year.

Sadly, the town where I spent part of my life (moving from being a pre-teen into a young adult), the elm trees that bordered our streets were later removed due to what is known as Dutch elm disease. This happened after my family left, and when I visited some years later, the town streets didn’t look the same. While it wasn’t completely barren, the removal of the trees took away a certain warmth and beauty. Maybe this is when I first realized the value of a tree.

Here’s to the elm tree in all its Midwestern glory.

For more information about the elm and its disappearance due to Dutch elm disease here is a recent article about the western town of Kalispell, Montana:

“little tree”

“little tree”littlewatercolortree


little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

See         i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

look          the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms

and I’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

any my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”

–e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

“little tree” was originally published in The Dial Vol. LXVIII No. 1  (Jan 1920).  New York: The Dial Publishing Company, Inc.

            Picture book renditions of this poem with original art work:

Little Tree by e.e. cummings; Illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray.  Pub: 1987

Little Tree by e.e. cummings; Illustrated by Mary Claire Smith.  Pub date: 2000

Little Tree poem by e.e. cummings; Story and paintings by Chris Raschka.   Pub date: 2001

Arbor Day — It’s all about the trees!

        Along with Earth Day appearing every year in late April, there is also National Arbor Day.  This year it falls on Friday, April 27th.  According to the Arbor Foundation it is “a time to celebrate the wonders of nature, and to plan for an even greener future by planting and caring for trees.”

I looked around for some poems about trees and found these.  While one of these speaks fondly of a nearby city tree, the other tree poem dredges up some not so friendly vibes…

A London Plane-Tree

Green is the plane-tree in the square,

The other trees are brown;

They droop and pine for country air,

The plane-tree loves the town.

Here from my garret-pane I mark

The plan-tree bud and blow,

Shed her recuperative bark,

And spread her shade below.

Among her branches, in and out,

The city breezes play;

The dull fog wraps her round about;

Above, the smoke curls grey.

Others the country take for choice,

And hold the town in scorn;

But she has listen’d to the voice

On city breezes borne.

–by Amy Levy (1861-1889), British poet

Cut it Down

By a dim road, o’ergrown with dry thin grass,

A little straggling, wild, wind-beaten tree

Stood, like a sentry, where no feet might pass,

And storm-swept by the sea.

What was the secret of that lonely place?

Had some accursed thing gone by this way,

Leaving the horror of his evil face

On leaf and bough and spray?

I know not.  But the very sunbeams took

The darkness of the gnarled and twisted stem;

The summer air those wrinkled leaves forsook

Nor ever played in them.

–by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907), British poet