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2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 10

Okay; we’re somehow already a third of the way through April. How did that happen?

Today’s “Two-for-Tuesday” prompts are:

  1. Write a Forest poem.
  2. Write a Tree poem.

You can literally write about a forest. Or you can literally write about a tree. Or you can dive right into the metaphor separating the two. Your choice. Get creative with it.

Here’s my attempt:


They often blend together
when they’re packed together
like that. I mean, one branch
bends around another and
another but not touching,
save when the wind blows hard.
I mean, it’s hard to pick
a favorite–until I find
one so twisted and unique
that I want to live inside
it or build a house beside
the tree beside the stream
that carries my thoughts to you.
I mean, you’re always on my mind.


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439 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 10

  1. ratgirl


    Green and black, nearly blinded by the density
    Of all things alive, the jungle breathes
    oxygen into my open lips, wet
    with hungry saliva and sumptuous,
    Controlling, possessive heat.
    The weight of humidity in my lungs,
    pushes down on my chest like it’s trying
    to start a heart gone still. The night twitches
    with electricity and tiny frogs in gumball colors.
    Above, iguanas lounge, bored with it all.

  2. Jolanta.Stephens

    Desperately reaching
    For the light
    Just out of grasp
    With such deliberate
    Painfully slow
    And shading
    Those who use
    And abuse
    And housing
    The little insignificants
    That flitter from head to toe

    And so too, shall our children grow.

  3. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Forest and Trees

    5520 Forest Avenue
    an address I’ll never forget
    a street lined with stately elms
    a back-yard full of fruit trees
    the place where I grew up.

    The elms succumbed first
    losing the war to inchworm
    invasions, zillions of worms
    dangling, wriggling, eating
    the leaves into green lace.

    Inchworms don’t fancy
    fruit trees – less tasty perhaps
    they withered more slowly, first
    the scrawny peach, leaving us
    two apples and the lone pear.

    Wedded, I moved away, but
    the two apples trees bloomed
    each spring for years, windfalls
    fertilizing the yard, lush grass
    re-growing with us kids gone.

    Parents dead, my sister stayed
    alone with just the ancient pear
    (it’s said they can live 100 years).
    Now moved to a nursing home,
    my sister’s abandoned the pear.

    Sold: 5520 Forest Avenue
    an address I’ll never forget
    a street lined with stately elms
    a back-yard full of fruit trees
    the place where I grew up.

  4. Sheryl

    Shaping Trees

    Does God employ hidden
    gardeners of trees? Did
    an invisible giant use
    unseen stakes to restrain
    this rare straight tree?
    Were transparent elves
    ordered to pull those twigs
    encircling the base of this one?
    I wonder how many summers
    massive phantoms napped
    on this left-leaning limb and
    its neighbor listing to the right.

    I wonder.

    Sheryl Kay Oder

  5. Arrvada


    The tree of my life started long ago
    With the roots of my past
    Digging deep and far
    It is not my family of which I speak
    They are only a small part
    Of the person I am
    They birthed me and raised me
    But worse scarred and scared me
    Nearly stunted the growth of me
    Somehow I did not shrivel and die
    Though for a time I stayed
    Dwarfed and small like a bonsai
    Only now seeing past
    The part of me they are
    I am able to stretch out my limbs
    Let them reach for the sky
    Long and willow they reach for the sun
    Limber enough to bend when the wind is harsh
    Yet strong enough for me to now stand tall
    To create my own roots, my own life
    To spread wide my limbs so one day
    I can relax beneath the shade of who I am

  6. Arrvada

    Forests of Avalon

    Into the forest I go
    Alone, unarmed
    Seeking no danger
    Fearing no harm
    I walk beneath the trees
    Wide boughed and shading me
    Branches flung wide to block the sun
    Casting a magical twilight on the floor below
    Vines and ferns peek and hide
    Like fairies and elves being shy
    The moss is like clothing
    Rich and green
    Covering the rough bark
    Of trees ancient and lean
    The path is dim and narrow
    Through the forests of Avalon
    In my imagination created
    Where elves and unicorn
    Walk sentry behind each shading branch
    And peek at me from between the ferns
    And leafy vines.

  7. po

    Chance Encounters

    Out of a woods so silent
    it speaks a wolf lopes by,
    stops and stares, then moves
    on to become one of my best
    chance encounter. I try to tell
    my husband but he just says
    it didn’t happen. I should have,
    like the woods, kept silent.

  8. cajun75

    Bernheim Forest

    I look on the internet
    To see if it is still there
    And yes it is
    It is now called an arboretum
    When I was five it was
    Just fun
    Multitudes of trees lined walking
    And driving trails
    Funny signs such as duck crossing
    And bent twig
    Lakes and ponds aplenty
    Gently swimming ducks gliding
    Across the unblemished water
    Ignoring the bread we toss to them
    But the fish jump from their
    Seclusion below the water’s surface
    Across the duck’s back to
    Grab a tasty snack
    Splashing back into hiding
    To wait for more
    Oh, to be five again, no internet
    Just the reality
    Of a beautiful forest
    And a beautiful day
    A forest and an experience
    That exists in my mind
    To be visited
    As often as I choose

  9. carolecole66

    A Very Small Tree

    The first time I fell that day
    the left crutch became a roller skate
    and I went down, helpless,
    like a tree felled in a forest
    crashing against the underbrush,
    in this case, the bedside table.
    All around me, the detritus
    of the lame and bedbound—lamp,
    clock, book, coffee cup—went flying,
    and I lay on the floor, purple flowers
    blooming on my arms and legs,
    feeling like pulp at the lumber mill
    only not as useful and not nearly so

  10. Golden Rule

    The tree

    Underneath the tree is where I sit and think.
    Reminiscent of life’s triumphs as well as defeats
    Underneath the tree is where I hide from the worlds distractions and I read
    I pull my pen out and on a pad it bleeds
    My heart is compromised because its poured out onto pages
    unleashing creativity that for so long I had locked up in cages
    underneath the tree I meditate
    my spirit is lifted, it elevates
    and my soul is cleansed and life’s worries is washed away
    The tree is important to me
    my man cave
    the place where my mind can be free.

  11. Arike

    Forest, n., collection of trees

    Young trees whisper in the breeze, no, atmosphere
    Rustling, a storm of excited voices
    Limbs reaching up and snapping together
    Leaves open to the light, veins
    Curling into symbols of sound

    Veins in a leaf on a branch in a tree
    Words in a book in a hand of a human
    Makes a
    Story in a head for a prize for a man
    Or woman? Today anyway

    It’s the teenager
    Telling the adult

    You did well, keep it up, so we’ll have
    Books in our hands like leaves on a tree
    Next year? Different books
    Stories don’t stop being told
    To a forest of vocal young primates

  12. cstewart

    In the Forest

    Walking where pioneers and Indians had walked,
    On the Old Town Hill and Delaware reservation,
    All along the Buck Creek with chards of pottery,
    The broken pieces of a civilization come to life.

    I spent my young life walking these places, examining;
    And knowing I was not the only one who,
    Worshiped the land I walked on as a spiritual grounding.
    I felt those ancestors who had been here before me; talk.

    In the rich, dark, Daleville ground,
    The beavers and kingfishers, muskrats and deer,
    Traveled over water and land with me roaming,
    My great grandfathers home and green mansions.

    My father’s gardening evidencing multiple arrowheads,
    And the hard fought battles with white men’s rules,
    His iris and lombard popular springing from their bodies
    Long gone and long forgotten, there; we stand with them.

  13. Jannelee


    The tree stood in the middle of the garden
    under it’s cool canopy,
    the young couple pledged their hearts
    each to the other forever
    the years passed,their family grew
    children played under the canopied shade
    little girls with their dainty tea parties,
    the boys built a treehouse with a sign
    posted below that said “Keep Out”

    The years passed and grandchildren
    played under it’s spreading canopy
    a bench built round it’s twisted feet
    so the old couple could sit and read
    their backs resting against it’s sturdy trunk
    the tree was happy and grew complacent
    then the old couple stopped coming
    and a memorial service was held
    under it’s aging, spreading bower

    the children and grandchildren moved away
    and the big house fell into decay
    the old tree stood alone and lonely
    sighing in the restless, changing wind
    the only visitors were couples or teens
    seeking privacy to steal a kiss or more
    the curling, gnarled bark felt many a knife
    It’s skin tattooed with proclamations of love

    then came a day, hot and noisy
    with the big machines all around
    a violent tremor shook it to it’s roots
    as the sting of an axe
    it’s hard, sharp, blade
    bit into it again and again
    until it split it’s heart, a loud crack
    with a shuddering groan it stood no more

    It’s called progress..

  14. Werewolf of Oz

    The Ode of Shell Cove

    There were 110 lobsters eating pears
    contentedly up a crab-apple tree.
    When along came a storm
    and swept them out to sea.
    They made themselves at home
    and decided that’s where they’d be.

  15. seingraham

    Broken Branch Willow of Mine

    Another windy night has left your detritus
    Spread over our lawn and the back neighour’s;
    Skinny twig-branches lopped off as neatly
    As if with man-made pruners lay like
    Over-large nail-clippings, large crescents
    Obliterating grass not yet ready to be green

    Why do I have such a fondness for you old tree
    Is it because you are ancient? And messy …
    I have an affinity for your messiness, I know that
    But I think more than anything, it’s your strength
    Oh – your tiny twig ends may snap off, self-pruning
    But your actual whip-like limbs; once they grow
    Beyond a certain length, they no longer break

    It doesn’t matter how fierce the wind or storm
    Those graceful branches sway; they tear forward
    And back, up and down – looking for all the world
    As if they must be ripped apart but they aren’t
    No, at some point, those branches develop
    A tensile strength that defies nature, keeps the tree
    Whole and growing steadily larger, older, more stately.

    Perhaps it’s just that I like the comparison
    I’ve heard being made lately between willows
    And women – how both have an incredible ability
    To withstand great pressure but instead
    Of breaking under the strain
    Will bend and bend and bend and eventually
    Bounce back up straight and strong and alive still

    I’ve even heard it said that if a willow branch
    Is intentionally broken off for some reason,
    As long as that branch finds its way into water
    Then soil – it will take root and grow another willow
    So determined a tree is it to survive
    Quite like many strong women with whom
    I’ve had the good fortune to become acquainted


  16. Marcia Gaye

    Maple Tree Swing

    There is a swing tied from a branch
    of the big old maple tree
    And there she takes the hymnal
    And there she swings and sings.

    Her toes, shoeless and dusty,
    Barely brush the ground,
    In her hands a treasure (borrowed
    from Grandad’s desk) she found.

    She sings of angels, sowing seeds,
    and sheep who’ve gone astray,
    of ships and lighthouses and stars
    which shine to show the way.

    Her voice rises and falls in rhythm
    to dancing dots her fingers trace,
    Then she lifts her head and smiles
    with sonshine on her face.

  17. shann

    Family Tree

    I looked my brother up on google,
    found his son is in jail for battery/
    domestic abuse, he might be married;
    far across the country in another world
    where time stalls, my sister’s daughter
    bounces checks and doesn’t pay bills.

    We don’t talk at all, we five siblings
    damaged by circumstance, memories
    of welfare food and our passive mother,
    a father who couldn’t keep his hands
    off us, used the belt, fists, boots, fear,
    to crush us under his influence.

    Over the years we’ve passed paths
    so infrequently I wouldn’t cross the street
    to avoid them, I’d never know their faces
    by sight, or be able to identify bodies,
    barely know the names of their children,
    where they shop, if they like arugula.

    I’ve heard they are in touch, the four
    who stayed to bury our parents. I ran
    so hard I made a few bad choices
    dwarfed by the one good decision.
    I have no regrets, except my children
    will never know who my family was.

    I am an immigrant to a new land,
    full of stories and artifacts, telling
    what I think should be remembered,
    little injuries concealed in anecdotes,
    hoping genetics can be circumvented
    by education and unconditional love.

  18. Yolee

    Dear Person of Interest

    You are the only Sycamore with a light coated wind on his branches
    that beckons : “Go ahead, go to new heights. I won’t hurt us ”
    I’ve been around the tree of good and evil, the unclimbed
    Lone Cypress and Sequoias so out of reach I injured sight
    for a season while my heart lay grounded among dry leaves.

    I’m afraid of the climb, frightened of finding a soft spot in the view,
    and the view not returning an eye for an eye. But your sharply
    edge leaves, welcoming canopy, renewing bark, thirst for sunlight,
    yen to root in rich soil intrigues. Thoughts are jogging in unfamiliar
    back-roads. How do people rise, honor what’s fixed on earth
    and test new wings?

    Über Green Girl

  19. Anders Bylund

    Looking Through the Mist (loosely based on a found poem)
    You fall asleep in my car
    Head against the window
    And by your cheek
    The mist flutters like a dream

    For all your faults
    Your beauty still shocks me
    And for you
    I’ll do anything at all

  20. Katrin

    I am the low moss,
    the high lichen on the
    north side of Bark
    A parasite’s embrace until the
    tree spins or my
    frame of mind is

    On other days,
    I’m nothing
    but a needled fanfare
    above the cone,
    practicing my fingerings
    on each breeze’s score.

    Some days I own the tree;
    on others, the tree hounds
    me for the rent check.
    But today, as the tree holds the
    morning in its top branches
    like a newborn babe,
    as I forget Night and
    begin to remember Day,
    we set aside our differences
    in tidy little piles
    and catch each other’s
    breaths in a tossing and
    dropping game of

  21. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Remember that tree I wanted to sit under?
    Well, my half-witted amigo, I am standing
    on its highest bough proclaiming victory.
    Proclaiming the glory that is ours! I told
    you we’d roast those birds! speaking of birds
    that need roasting, I can’t wait ’til those tough
    old broilers of yours scoot down to Atlanta
    on Thursday and I get some rest.
    Round two is today – let’s see some
    more of that action – frying tonight!
    Pick me up will ya, I’m tired of driving my whole life.
    Whose damned idea was it to be a cabbie anyway?
    I’ll get the beer & wings:

    Howling like a rooster-ly yours
    Ringo the Howler

  22. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Woods for the Trees

    blinkered by desire
    searching with only one purpose
    one goal
    oblivious to surroundings
    oblivious to spectators
    and missing the point
    missing the gem
    missing the opportunity
    of a life time
    missing you


  23. mlcastejon

    Yesterday, I couldn’t submit my poem because of the website. Any of you had have the same issue? Thanks.

    Urban forest

    Why am I here yelling at a wall
    when I have a path behind me?

    It’s time to go deeper.

  24. David Yockel Jr.

    Lazy Tree

    I have never had much luck
    with Bonsai trees. So last year
    I bought a potato, put it in a chinsey
    plastic tray with green Japanese
    writing, and forgot it on a dusty

    After a couple weeks, the eyes
    of the wrinkly Russet sprouted
    soft purple buds that shot off
    in beautiful but irregular angles
    leaving thin, waxy stems behind

    I used these small and sorry scissors
    to sculpt the spud, and sat in quiet
    contemplation , losing my self
    in the dizzying flight pattern
    of more than a dozen fruit

  25. TezfromOz

    Seeing the Forest Beyond the Trees

    I’m sorry son, I have to work
    I’ve got a busy day,
    But later on, I promise,
    We’ll make some time to play

    I’m sorry son, ‘priorities’,
    I must put first things first
    I know I said … I truly meant …
    It’s gone from bad to worse

    ‘Priorities’. The very word.
    It truly says it all,
    Thank God I’ve finally seen the light,
    Come son, and bring that ball.

  26. stop_stopping

    “there were no parks or gardens”

    a land of oaks swapped
    for a forest of cement and old
    frames. cracks in the pavement
    bloom green; seeds pushed
    deep breathe, push back.
    roots wrapped around roots
    beneath the surface, wooden
    webs trap sidewalks, streets,
    peak at the sun, trip shoed
    feet. houses outnumber nests.
    feet outnumber roots not in length.
    what passed now has limits, gates
    and playgrounds. each grassy knoll
    a plot– each tree controlled
    in a lot.

    1. stop_stopping

      Hey…so..I am considering submitting this one to a magazine– I was wondering if there was any way I could get it deleted from here? I’m happy you inspired me to write it, now I just need it back :-P. Thank-you!

  27. bclay

    The Dark Forest

    Even full moon
    can not penetrate
    our nocturnal sihlouette,

    wind can only touch
    our outermost branches,
    leaves trembling to survive,

    our dark forest is felt
    even under cloudy night,
    our shadows rain upon eye,

    and when there is no
    moon, we will constellate
    pattern grasped star sy-stems.

  28. Rosangela

    An Ode to All Trees

    Nature’s mighty intercourse
    Gracious breathing of the Universe
    Gives birth to a magical force
    In which I completely immerse.

    Intuitive serendipity
    gives me peace
    I smile.
    Hugged by serenity
    I feel at ease
    for a long while.

    Powerful limbs, dancing away
    leaves in a musical amusement
    My thoughts go astray
    into a complete abandonment.

    Friendly ascendant
    Humbly enduring
    Mystically wise.
    Earth’s prize!

  29. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    It began with the two willows
    in the vast back yard of my childhood.
    Dad hung a swing from one
    and I swung inside a green cocoon,
    sky-dreaming in a trance.

    And the black wattle over the garage —
    the solid, spreading branches
    made a seat for me, half way up,
    out of Mum’s view. I played deaf
    when she called me, reading till dusk.

    Then there were the dark pines
    edging my grandparent’s fields
    alongside the railway line,
    like guardians for my cousin and me
    as we played on hillocks of heath.

    I remember that river gum
    somewhere between Three Ways and Darwin,
    off even that not-very-beaten track,
    with the Territory’s warm winter sunlight
    bleaching patches of trunk.

    And the tree at the top of the paddock
    at North Tumbulgum, past the dam,
    right on the neighbour’s fence,
    with a trunk too broad for my circling arms
    and two lopped branches forming snakes’ heads.

    These and many more. I have a forest
    of trees, beloved, living inside my mind,
    speaking to me forever after. Far-flung
    individuals, their roots connect underground;
    their branches join invisibly through air.

  30. Miss R.

    Forest Reprieve

    Cool shades of light
    Tinted green through leaves
    Bathe me gently
    In tender warmth.
    Sinking softly into moss,
    My toes rejoice in silence
    And wiggle deeper
    Into the moist bed.
    The scent of spruce
    Washes clean my mind,
    Preparing me once more
    To leave the forest
    And face the world.

  31. Catherine Lee

    “If thou keep me still as prisoner in these woods, my voice the very woods shall fill and make the stones to understand.” -Ovid’s Metamorphoses

    Philomela’s Song

    Her hollow mouth opens
    To shatter the slab sky
    But only the trees have ears

    The oaks scream wide
    With red tongue leaves
    Dripping to the earth

    The forest floor
    Is burnished
    With the fallen

  32. taylor graham


    Ancient juniper above treeline
    split by lightning
    who knows how many years ago
    but still standing
    hollow-centered but alive –
    I step inside.
    To the east, the Sierra crest
    and, through its window,
    view of basin and range as far as the eye.
    I press my ear
    to its core. It hums –
    leaf-scales in a windswept crown,
    a lyre more lasting than laurel.
    I could stay here,
    heart of juniper. Under storm-
    clouds, a bird – a raven – to fly into
    the desert haze
    of distance. Shelter of lava rock,
    sky-shimmer, tree.

  33. Kendall A. Bell

    Tuesday night, she was in my dreams

    Telling me about how her house stood
    where the water treatment plant is now,
    and that everything around here was a
    huge forest, that people hacked and
    hacked it all down and built these houses
    far too close to the water. She told me
    that her father wanted a son, built a
    treehouse before she was born and told
    her it was a castle, so she made tiaras
    out of vines, leaves and flowers, wrote
    love letters and sent them down the river
    in glass bottles, but no one answered.
    She told me that the forest was hers,
    all of this land left to her and no one
    to share it with, that she can’t bear to
    leave what was left of her forest.
    She left her voice on the breezes that
    blew through the park nearby, told me to
    look for her in the morning. I haven’t
    had a solid night of sleep in weeks and
    I can’t get her voice out of my head.

      1. Kendall A. Bell

        Thanks a lot. I actually wrote an entirely different poem and trashed a lot of it, took what I liked from it, and came up with this. It’s part of a series of poems I’m writing about a guy who falls for a ghost.

  34. Walt Wojtanik

    O TANNENBAUM (The Pines)

    Marking the countryside.
    Random flecks of emerald
    splayed against a canvas of white
    of a winter unbridled.
    Miles from nowhere; up there.
    Out my window, they greet me
    snow covered and reflective.
    Their sole objective
    is to hide what we do.
    A village and community
    working in unity for a cause
    just because I am Santa Claus.
    I love this scene
    amongst the pines.

  35. Melissa Hager

    Tree Versus Forest

    Politics everywhere,
    Past forgotten or reshaped
    Like an Orwellian nightmare.
    Future cannot be ascertained.
    The forest is unimaginable
    due to the big trees
    standing in the way.

    They spread spiteful acorns
    and care for their own agendas.
    Their water, their personal light, and
    their dance in the breezes.
    Let the forest go to hell
    as long as they get what they need.

  36. Benjamin Thomas

    Forest Tree Menu

    Black Cherry “Cordial”
    “Delicious” Dogwoods
    Orange “Sherbet” Oak
    “Lemon” Spruce
    “Double Chocolate” Rocky Mountain Birch
    Yellow “Pineapple” Spruce
    Australian “Pecan” Pine
    “Blueberry” Beech
    Rum Cherry “Coke”
    Custard Apple “Tart”
    Big-leaf Maple “Syrup”
    Black Walnut “Bon Bons”
    Cinnamon Oak “Bars”

  37. PassionateQuill

    I ache for a tree
    casting shadowy picnics on the lawn
    muscling tire swings, and afternoon dreams
    wearing a shield of climbing rungs
    bearing mystery novels and comic books
    shielding my fruit, as though they were its own
    and I believe
    that tree aches for me

  38. Sally Jadlow

    Trees in Forests

    When the children were small,
    their constant needs
    drove me to distraction
    as I warded off destroyers
    of various kinds,
    to protect their tender shoots.

    One day, without my notice, they grew
    beyond saplings; strong, straight.

    Today, they have matured,
    weathered withering winds;
    planted saplings of their own,
    forming a forest,
    where once only tiny trees stood.

  39. uneven steven

    White pine, soft pine
    Five-needled gentleness
    Against the blue of an autumn sky;
    These once ancient giants
    Of a virgin wilderness
    Have regrown to a mere post adolescence
    And still are felled
    To build more houses
    Or sheared off the land
    Like an unwanted growth
    For a “better, pre-fabricated,
    Corporate consumer” lawn.
    My pine –
    A six inch twig in dirt
    Given to me in the first grade;
    I don’t know how it survived
    Much less endured the uprootings
    And sandy soil of its youth,
    Yet, there it stands
    A little pine amidst pines
    In a tiny wooded spot
    Intersected by homes;
    For twenty-two years it’s been growing
    In that shaded overgrowth
    And still my thumb and forefinger
    Can still touch as I curve
    My hand around its smooth gray skin;
    It’s been a crowded time,
    Both our lives stunted
    In tightened rings of waiting
    For openings to the sun.
    We didn’t anticipate the powerlines.
    The tree will need to be severely pruned.
    But I guess nothing can be totally natural now,
    There’s always some want in human kind –
    Hardly ever need – so that wild nature is sacrificed, killed
    Mutilated for useless products,
    Torn limb from bleeding limb,
    The natural world, my tree,
    My natural being stunted and trimmed,
    Pruned in the name of a growing “civilized” society.
    It’s too deeply rooted –
    To transplant her now would mean her death.
    So, I’ll make a cup of white pine tea
    With the fresh green needles,
    But first I’ll ask permission
    And forgiveness for her unintentionally enclosed
    And intertwined life with me-
    She says it’s okay,
    She’ll live many generations beyond me-
    And with hope, she might be a two hundred foot tall
    Giant awing the puny lives of men.
    I hope they don’t cut her down
    But there are so many people with saws
    And fewer and fewer humans who know
    And love the tree people.
    Ah, my white pine tea is done,
    Migwetch, many thank yous, amen.

  40. Walt Wojtanik


    What a noise this is, I am certain,
    this resonance disturbs the curtain;
    I see no sense in stopping there,
    I’ve found my slumber in this chair.
    My bulbous proboscis, most celebrated
    and this septum, quite deviated,
    between each in and exhalation,
    this sonic din has changed the station.
    It’s the most tired that I’ve been all year.

    I give my snoring head a nod
    and dream of places I have trod.
    This raucous sound will not be savored,
    it disturbs surely most of the neighbors.
    My breathing’s shallow, loud but slow,
    and I’m missing half my show,’
    and a while to sleep before I’ll know,
    and a while to sleep before I’ll know.

    **A take on Robert Frost’s, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening””

  41. taylor graham


    arboretum, Institute of Forest Genetics

    I study the tags, and let my eyes climb
    the rough bark up to stiff, branching green.
    Pinus ponderosa. P. apache, P. jeffreyi.
    A breeze whispers in Spanish through
    Weeping Mexican Pine, P. patula.

    At leash-end, my puppy’s reading, too,
    with her nose. Pine-needle duff.
    Cone of a Ponderosa. The another cone –
    Digger. And here’s a Jeffrey – does its DNA
    smell different than the others?

    The two of us deciphering
    this forest, our world.

  42. Linda Voit


    I will miss the sycamore
    near the back door.
    From its side, a hook protrudes,
    its metal base long enveloped
    in rings and bark. It holds, ever sturdy,
    the seeds that call and comfort
    its hollow-boned visitors.
    What made it give up a limb
    big enough to require neighbors
    with chainsaws that Sunday
    after a Saturday storm? Did it know
    we’d feed them and someone would say
    Let’s do pot lucks on Sundays.
    Did it know the ties we would forge,
    the problems we’d solve, the laughs
    we’d share, the joy we’d feel
    even in our marrow?
    I will miss the sycamore
    near the back door.

    Linda Voit

  43. deedeekm

    Step out, step out
    From shady glade
    Let safety fade
    As evening slips
    It’s velvet dress on
    Colors sweeter as
    We watch their leaving
    Silver sheathing on
    The pond the
    Fronds of lilies
    Fold their hands
    And bathe in lavender
    And peach then
    Reach for one last
    Time as moon climbs
    In the distance
    Takes it’s place
    A smiling face
    To welcome stars
    As frogs sing
    Stars ring tree tops
    Soft spots curling
    Up the living
    Giving over to
    The night

  44. Nancy Posey

    Tree Climbing

    He should have his own home by now,
    a wife, a family, money in the bank,
    but he lives in the house his grandfather
    left, grudgingly, unable to live alone.

    He’s moved the Olan Mills family pictures,
    the crocheted doilies, hand painted china,
    replacing them with concert posters, 
    a stuffed goose sporting a bow tie.

    Most days he can convince himself 
    he’s grown–paying the light bill, mopping
    the ancient linoleum floors, paying a kid
    to mow his lawn.

    But every now and then, sure no one’s
    watching, he climbs to the highest limbs
    of the old magnolia tree out back, up
    where he sways and teeters, unafraid,
    as if he were ten again.

  45. Jackie Casey

    Chinaberry Tree

    Our Chinaberry, a rich, green haven,
    held castles where we defended maiden.
    We climbed lofty heights and won the battle;
    knights with slingshot take aim and skedaddle!
    Chinaberry tree of youth long ago;
    we loved and adored your play, rightly so,
    tumbling like monkeys; arms end over end;
    taught us to climb as the acrobats spin.
    Oh, Chinaberry, my memory holds!
    The play you gave us so magical-bold.
    Then, winning my heart, Chinaberry soul.

  46. tunesmiff


    Wild dogwoods
    will sometimes
    grow from the
    fallen trunks
    of old trees;

    branches grow
    skyward to
    become trunks
    themselves one
    day, reaching

    to the sun
    glimpsed through the
    of other trees:
    pine, poplar,

    walnut, oak,
    sweet gum, beech;
    sending forth
    pure white blooms,

    like snow drifts
    between earth
    and sky, so
    long as the
    taproot lives.

  47. LCaramanna

    Over the Edge

    I stood on the edge
    and watched the wind
    seduce the trees,
    hot breath
    scented with apple blossoms
    swirled through supple branches.
    I stood on the edge,
    as the wind whipped the trees
    into a frenzy,
    tantalized the leaves
    into a whirling, twirling,
    sensuous dance.
    I stood on the edge,
    the wind in the trees
    chanted my name.
    Without hesitation
    I stepped over the edge,
    breathed apple blossom wind,
    and danced with the trees.

  48. Andrea B

    In Forests

    When asked to choose a forest
    I must consider paths
    and learn from the choices
    of others who’ve traveled
    in the past

    I’m reminded of Young Goodman Brown
    and how he lost his faith
    in man and wife
    then lost his life lonely and depraved

    The mighty Ents of Tolkien,
    shepherds of the forest,
    Middle Earth’s clear allies
    freedom was their forage

    Robin and his band of men
    took over Sherwood Forest
    and ensured what happened then
    would benefit the poorest

    Little Red, Hansel & Gretel,
    though on separate paths,
    when set out through the forest
    discovered natural wrath

    And then there were the princesses
    Sleeping Beauty & Snow White
    who sought respite there
    while waiting to be brides

    When asked to choose a forest
    I must consider paths
    just like the wise Robert Frost
    who took the one less traveled by

  49. Sharon


    One was a sanctuary
    for birds
    and little boys;
    Another sprouted up,
    a shady spot in the yard.
    And then there were three,
    where children and pets
    frolicked and played.

    The farmer planted more,
    a windbreak,
    The one
    became a woodland ,
    drawing wildlife
    large and small
    sprouting a forest
    spreading here
    and there.

    Suddenly a flicker
    and a flash.
    Flames danced!
    Burning and churning
    driving everything out
    until there is only,
    the lonely one,
    a sanctuary for none.

  50. Earl Parsons

    So busy these last few days. So little time to write and read what others have written.

    Forest Follies

    I walked into the forest
    Half way
    From that point on
    I walked out


    Trees like baseball
    You can tell by their pitch
    Trees like history
    You can tell by their roots
    Trees like dogs
    You can tell by their bark
    Trees like traveling
    They’re always ready to leave
    Trees like expansion
    They’re always branching out
    Trees like anniversaries
    They have a ring for each one
    Trees like joking around
    Some can really needle you
    But when it’s all said and done
    Trees like to relax
    That’s why they live in the woods
    The best place fo-rest

  51. lionmother

    Caught in the Forest

    The trees bend graceful
    from the wind and the sun
    toward the light rising
    until my eyes can no
    longer see into the
    endless sky
    raising their leafy tops
    to the warmth and
    leaving their bare trunks
    behind, bark naked
    to the whims of the
    inhabitants of this forest
    and I think of all of us
    down here on the ground
    surrounded by the trees
    of our lives
    leafy tops striving
    each day toward the light
    feeling the warm sunshine
    of praise upon our efforts
    as we leave the bare, naked
    trunks of our former existence

  52. Walt Wojtanik


    “I coulda had class.
    I coulda been a contender.
    I coulda been somebody” ~Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando – “On the Waterfront”)

    I coulda had class
    instead of being this ass
    who when push came to shove
    fell in love with all the wrong people.
    My choices have been questioned
    and I mention this just in passing,
    but this ever-lasting love thing is for
    the other guy not me. I guess
    I’ve been barking up the wrong tree.

    I coulda been a contender,
    instead of this jerk on a three-day bender,
    who went off on this tangent when
    what I needed to do was focus
    on finding the right words to say.
    I play this poetry game and it keeps me
    sane to a point… or disjointed, but
    I’m doing my best you see. I guess
    I’m barking up the wrong tree.

    I coulda been somebody,
    instead of this guy who loved his parents,
    and his wife and daughters, who is a loyal
    friend and a man who has a way to say
    all his heart feels. But it seems the real deal
    is the proof in the pudding. And putting
    my rhyme on the line has made me
    realize that as far as I can see,
    I am surely barking up the wrong tree.

    I have some class.
    I am always a contender.
    I am somebody.

  53. emmajordan


    Crepe myrtles in full bloom
    petals falling
    bark peeling drifting to the ground
    where they crunch loudly
    pleasantly beneath my feet.
    young shoots from the foot of the trees
    grow no matter the searing sun or
    lack of drink.

  54. ceeess

    Well, I love the coincidence of this prompt as it fits so nicely with the one from NaPoWriMo. Not that I mind writing two poems in a day, but I have been falling a bit behind, and rather than drop out of the challenge perhaps this is one way to allow myself to continue. My problem is too many poems to deal with already, and a procrastination about submitting work needs to be dealt with. Anyway that all is my own problem to deal with. Here’s my forest poem, based on the first line of someone’s else’s poem, credit given below!

    Who’s Afraid in the Big Bad Woods?

    What do you fear in the woods
    when the trees fold their branches around you
    closing out the sky, when the sun no longer
    warms you with her soft touch and the path
    twists again and again till you’re confused,
    and have lost your way?

    Is it the sound of reeds drumming on hollow logs,
    hoofbeats of horses that galloped these woods until
    their riders were never seen again? Is it the warping
    of the light, how it filters through leaves, the distortion
    of time and place, or the fear of darkness at the end of day
    the path no longer seen?

    Is it the heartbeat pounding in your chest,
    choking out each breath as you climb the same hill
    for the third time in an hour? Is it the chiming of a distant
    steeple, heard but not seen, its song sung in a minor key,
    a dissonance falling harshly on the ear, as it announces
    the lateness of the hour

    Is it the stories remembered from childhood,
    a girl in a red cloak, a clever wolf, a horseman
    riding headless at midnight, banshees and children
    who meet old women with ovens and appetites,
    and you—you have come to these woods, forgetting
    your pocketful of crumbs?

    Carol A. Stephen
    April 10, 2012

    the line What do you fear in the woods is
    from Tim Prior ‘s the wood and the darkness

  55. omavi

    “… Of Leaf & Bark & Breathe”

    Arms out-stretched reaching
    Towards ground and sky
    Feeling nothing but touch an essence
    Of everything that flowers and grows
    Decay is just a part of the cycle
    That brings about fervent growth
    Air conducts vibrations
    Fueling currents and sensations
    Of longevity to all that exists
    A staunch and silent reminder
    Of the death and renewal
    Of all things
    Thick and strong but still
    Weak to the soothing southern winds
    Every existing but never whispering
    The secrets that eons give
    Born from earth and raised
    By the suns bright rays
    The moon and stars the nursemaids
    Comforting from dusk until
    Dawns comes calling again
    With age comes reverence
    Comes respect for every atom borne
    Standing tall never fearing the fall
    Because this essence will fertilize
    And seed
    For more greatness to come forth

  56. hurtin-heart

    Weeping Willow
    As i stood beside this unusual tree,
    Alone it stood,just like me.
    As i stood and stared at it’s drooping limbs.
    It reminded me of the many burdens
    that weighed me down.
    At that moment,to my eyes
    it was a beautiful sight.
    But the longer i stood and stared
    it brought sadness to my heart.
    It’s trunk looked big and strong,
    yet i knew,like me, it had come
    through many storms.
    And as i looked at it’s limbs
    seeming weak and bowed.
    Like they had lost,to me,
    their strength i suppose.
    Then i felt the rain as it started
    pouring down.
    But i couldn’t move from where
    i stood there.
    I watched in amazement as the drops
    slid down the limbs and hit the ground.
    At that moment it was clear to me
    as i stood there alone,crying,helplessly.
    How much alike i was to this
    weeping willow tree.

  57. emmajordan


    I kept watch at my bedroom window, looking for signs of wind strength.
    The old trees in the park across the street
    with their 100 year old
    thick trunks limbs
    deep roots
    will not bend.
    Strong winds could break them.
    Please don’t let them break I whispered.
    They are too regal to let them break.
    In front and to the side of the house is
    a birch tree
    with green-yellow leaves
    white peeling bark
    young and slender.
    I watch, waiting to see how far it bends.

    Thunder lightening wind rain
    all splatter against my window.
    It grows darker darker
    clouds cannot be picked out in the sky
    where everything is gray.
    Electrical wires sway violently
    the birch begins to bow
    lower lower
    branches sweep the ground
    leaves fly away
    dancing in the air
    pushed along
    sticking to my porch roof
    the street below
    the windows of the house next door.
    The wind is angry now
    beating the birch
    hoping for submission
    but the birch only bows,
    takes a breath,
    and stands up again.

  58. RobHalpin

    The Day The Music Died

    great, wide trunks
    topped with expansive branches
    and innumerable leaves,
    thick, strong roots
    diving deep into the soil
    and spreading wide, entwining
    with the roots of another
    stout-bodied giant,
    tapering as it climbs high,
    burdened with a plethora
    of needles and cones
    that mingle with the leaves
    and branches of another
    grand, ancient sentinel;
    a patternless dance of trees
    that ends with the music
    of the chainsaw

  59. Janet Rice Carnahan

    WOW, PSC . . . just love the echoing aspect of this delightful melody heard through the trees, whispered and whistled with such a perfect ending that we all search for, “you are loved, welcome home”! So beautiful!

  60. PSC in CT


    Your name passes from poplar to pine.
    It may be weeks, months or even years,
    since you were here, still it whispers in wind
    and water, sings from within boulders,
    stones and tiniest grains of sand

    that one note, uniquely yours, known
    to the universe – earth, moon, sun, sky –
    each atom, every microbe knows it;
    your moniker, existing before you were born,
    biding after body is dust

    not what you are called by family & friends,
    but who you are, and will always be,
    it is you and you are it, inseparable

    a name never meant to be uttered,
    incapable of being spoken in voices human,
    unable to be written – except in the stars

    never to be heard by ears or seen by eyes,
    no word, but music, scent, taste, texture, temperature,
    senses as yet unnamed, unknown, undiscovered

    it whistles between white birch and willow,
    musical – melody & harmony — simple & complex,
    elemental & intricate, an invisible,
    celestial embrace that says,
    “you are loved, welcome home”

  61. Connie Peters

    Muse in Trouble

    If I can’t write about a tree,
    my muse must be in trouble.
    So to my poetic rescue troops,
    come running on the double!

    My muse might be drowning
    in the busyness of the day.
    Or perhaps bogged down in quicksand
    of vacationing away.

    Maybe buried in the desert
    so no one can hear its shout.
    Or swinging by a noose
    from the tree I’m to write about.

    So while I’m basking in the sunshine,
    my muse calls 9-1-1.
    But someone else can save it
    while I’m having a little fun.

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      Connie . . . I love this! How much is your poem? I am also away on vacation and can barely keep up! I love your muse dance . . . are you in Hawaii, by chance?

  62. Margot Suydam

    In the woods behind our house                                                             
    my sisters and I built
    villages, each our own
    miniature crafted
    in sticks and moss
    occupying the forest
    paths on retreat from
    chagrin and unsettling
    neglect, mere reflection
    in a nearby pond
    the tallness of wood
    showered us, we washed
    our hands in dirt
    cherished the growling
    touch of muddy
    grit and rusted leaves
    we used to hold things
    together, assembling
    rows of tiny lean-tos
    snug with mossy cushions
    for floors, that circled
    and were joined by others
    in tiny townships, always
    finishing our work before
    sundown, we spent quiet
    in the last hours of light
    watched as shadows turned
    the green into blue into black.

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      What a great picture perfect little innocent world of child’s play along with the pain and sadness of neglect! You painted this so well, I could smell the leaves and dirt and also feel the hurt! Beautiful job and how well I remember the forest! Thank you!

  63. Sara McNulty

    Aril 10, 2012 – Day 10
    Write a forest poem
    Write a tree poem

    Lost Among Other Voices

    You can lost yourself
    in a forest
    until every branch, every path, each leaf
    appears exactly the same. The only difference
    in the forest is you, scrambling
    through brambles,
    frantic, panting
    desperate to find
    a way back to yourself.

    He was gregarious, infectious,
    planning events, outings, vacations,
    knowing what you needed to do,
    without qualm. Follow him,
    calm, self-assured, in charge
    of your life,
    lost inside his
    own. Swept away in that cocoon
    of silken-voiced threads,
    you forfeited yourself,
    to the suppleness of clay.

    When he left,
    you were left,
    with the baby-step task
    of reassembling the footsteps
    leading back to who you were.

    1. maxie2

      Wow. This poem brought me back to a dim time in my life where I was taking those baby-steps myself. I like the breathlessness of the panicked desperation and the description of the man. Excellent.

  64. Janet Rice Carnahan

    Now the forest . . .


    Like an array of well behaved,
    British school children,
    Dressed neatly in their matching clothes,
    Standing in a perfect row,
    To impress all who saw the group,
    Becoming the best showcase,
    Of gathered individuals,
    Well turned out and finely orchestrated,
    All the young trees,
    In the natural Christmas tree forest,
    Stood as tall as they could,
    As if trying to win out the various families,
    Coming at different times,
    Throughout December,
    Choosing the one,
    Ideal vision to stand proud,
    In their home,
    For all to see, admire and adore.

    Some knew they were a bit rounder,
    Some awkwardly tall,
    Others had a lean to them,
    That kept blending into the leaves,
    Of the others who were at best tolerant,
    Still, the trees were all individuals,
    Just not appearing so from the road!
    Any passerby would only see a forest,
    Full of the potential December trees,
    Eagerly hoping they would be the chosen one,
    For the very special day,
    Arriving soon!

    Pulling into the parking lot,
    The little girl wasn’t sure if she would get to choose,
    This year’s tree!
    Since she was just one in the large family,
    Yet, just as she began to wonder,
    She could feel the tree,
    As if this time,
    It might just call her name!
    She decided to trust her feelings,
    As she meandered around the forested spot,
    Until, she realized her brightly colored hair bow,
    Was no longer holding her pony tail!
    Quickly she retraced her footsteps,
    Ducking down to see the roots,
    As if it had fallen,
    Looking at the dirt,
    To see if it had been trampled,
    Asking her brother,
    If he had snatched it to distract her,
    All to find it was still missing.

    About to give up,
    She jumped up high,
    To her surprise,
    She saw it up high on a beautiful tree,
    Waving like a flag,
    As if to say, “Here I am,
    I took it so you could see me”.

    She giggled at the thought,
    Racing back to fetch it,
    As she stood before the tree,
    She saw how perfect the formation was,
    Height and branch spacing was ideal,
    To take home and decorate,
    Almost as if it had already started,
    By joyfully holding her bow in its branches!

    Getting her family’s attention,
    She took a long bow more like a curtsy,
    Before the tree,
    As if to introduce it to them,
    They quickly gathered around her,
    Admiring the tree and agreed,
    This was the best family one for this year,

    Truly in the forest of trees for Christmas,
    This tree alone had stood out,
    Happily signaling,
    It was one of a kind,
    In amongst the many,
    Getting the attention of the little girl,

    And just as a delightful bit of wind suddenly came up . . .
    The tree and the girl took a final bow together!

  65. competitivewriter

    Forest of Fantasy

    Feet falling like leaves to the forest floor
    We walked as quietly as we could
    We strained our eyes to spy on the shy
    Inhabitants of the wood
    A clover circle, a crushed mushroom, a cobweb in the brush
    Remnants of fairy dances
    Scraps left behind by travelling gnomes
    Traps and snares of goblin folk
    We went along our way and felt their watchful eyes
    But to us they remained hidden and disguised
    As butterflies or birds or bugs
    As sticks or stones or stumps
    Feet falling like leaves to the forest floor
    We walked as quietly as we could
    We strained our ears to hear chants and cheers
    And the music of the wood
    A bubbling brook, a bristling branch, a blowing breeze
    Songs of sprites
    Flutes of fauns
    The bellowing of trolls
    We went along our way and heard enchanted hymns
    But the makers of the melodies transformed at a whim
    Into multicolored songbirds or wart encrusted toads
    Into tiny chirping crickets or chattering young squirrels
    Feet falling like leaves to the forest floor
    We walked as quietly as we could

    1. Miss R.

      I love this! I remember walking through one particular forest in my childhood and thinking that if fairies and gnomes existed anywhere, it would have to be among those trees. You’ve captured that sentiment beautifully.

  66. Paoos69

    A Forest of Thoughts

    Deep, dark, daunting
    A forest can be
    Alluring and flaunting
    A forest can be
    Very thought like
    Are its qualities

    Just like thoughts
    It is easy to get lost
    In a forest
    Just like thoughts
    It is mesmerizing
    To get lost in a forest

    Just like thoughts
    A forest is a mingle
    Just like thoughts
    Forests inspire jingles
    Every tree, every shrub
    Like a thought in the mind

    Deep and inspiring
    Thoughts and forests
    Fleeting and conspiring
    Thoughts and forests
    Ponderous and alivening
    Thoughts and forests

    And yet every tree
    Perfect, in shape, in size, in maturity
    Like a single thought
    Conceived in clarity

    And yet every forest
    A mish-mash of diversity
    Like many thoughts
    A jumble of creativity

  67. New_Writer49

    A Home for Birds

    My small little pine has blossomed over time.

    Planted as a science project it’s become part of the home.

    That old pine has spawned over time, Cardinals, Sparrows and Pigeons alike a little bird haven.

    On sunset evenings symphonies arise, but morning gives way to a revelry to rise and shine.

    As the seasons change at various times, you can peer and see bird nest to harbor a new generation of life.

    Who would have thought that old pine would grow up to be the perfect bird house?

  68. Janet Rice Carnahan

    Which would come first, let’s see . . . would it be the forest or the tree?

    I agree . . . the tree!


    “Now little one,
    Don’t be a sap,
    Stand up tall,
    Get your feet,
    On the ground,
    And hold them there,
    Don’t let anyone push,
    You around,
    Yet be flexible,
    Like you are blowing,
    In the wind!
    Know who you are,
    Begin branching out,
    When you are ready,
    Always reach for the sky,
    Don’t let anyone needle you,
    Or stump you as you go,
    Our bark is as good as any bite,
    You can run rings around anyone,
    Always aim higher,
    Yet grow at your own pace,
    In your own space,
    And place.”

    “But mother,
    Won’t I pine for you?

    “No and there will be no,
    Weeping either!

    We are mighty redwood trees,
    Bowing down to no one . . .

    If you please!”

  69. maggzee

    Forest Pantoum

    Endlessness, endlessly endowed
    The forest is an eternity
    There are no trees in an eternity
    Twigs crackle as the ghouls tread softly

    The forest is an eternity
    Brown paths, a darkly manse
    Twigs crackle as the ghouls tread softly
    Time drifts on branches

    Brown paths, a darkly manse
    Whispery, shivery, corporeal breezes
    Time drifts on branches
    Light is a dream of the past

    Whispery, shivery, corporeal breezes
    Wordlessly beckoning
    Sunlight is a dream of the past
    Dimness, a late afternoon shroud

    Wordlessly beckoning
    There are no trees in eternity
    Dimness, a late afternoon shroud
    Endlessness, endlessly endowed

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      Love this, Marie Elena! Simple words, giant message! I love how your love continues to grow as you continue to, I have to say it, branch out! :)

  70. carolynmallory

    Arctic Willow

    Prostrate, it hugs the ground,
    laying its branches on
    dark earth to absorb
    every last degree of available heat.

    Pussy willows cautiously creep
    along the substrate, sunning
    themselves despite
    remnants of snow.

    The burgeoning leaves burst
    forth, ensconced in a warm
    cloak of hair, protection
    from the wind and cold.

    And I pull up my hood
    thankful for the bit of fur
    around my face.

  71. Marie Elena

    Quick late lunch reading. Thanks sooooooo much to those of you who left kind responses to my poems. Loving all! Especially…

    Ely the Eel: Great stuff, this. “But that will be for a different poet’s despair.” Love it.
    Claudsy: Such beauty today!
    Posmic: Redbuds are sooooo beautiful and plentiful where I live. I can’t figure out why they are called Redbud, but no matter … beauty all the same. Thanks for this beautiful ode.
    Daniel Ari: Oh my … emotions spelled and spilled in such a gripping and almost lovely manner. Well done!
    Buddah: Ouch. Good work.
    De Jackson: Total brilliance. I cannot ever choose one piece from you over another. I want a book. I WANT A BOOK. An entire collection of books. A Jackson library. I mean, really…
    Lady Maggie: I’m in love with the sonnet form, though I seldom take the time to pen them of late. Yours is flawless and lovely. Thank you!
    Emmajordon: I know the roots of which you speak. Captivating, aren’t they? And so is your poem.
    Kenaipi: lovely and sensuous!
    Mike Grove: Such a lovely tribute to your family!
    Mike Bayles: Lovely in vision and content.
    Jane Beal (and Joseph’s response): so lovely!
    Nancy Posey and Jane Shlensky: Your stories-in-poem are always captivating!
    Janet Ruth: Wonderful work today, but I especially love your Parable.
    Kevin DeRossett: Brilliant! Comical and sobering, creatively penned.
    RJ: Metaphorest … Awww!!
    Imaginalchemy: Extraordinary images!
    Hannah: Miss Magnolia is just so very lovely!
    And as I said earlier (but worth another mention): Khara and Walt … stunning work, both!

  72. Dare


    Tree of life, worlds diverse
    Strong branches shelter there.

    Beneath gnarled roots Fate
    Weaves her web of time.

    Stout trunk bears full the
    Weight of Nature’s cares.

  73. ely the eel

    A Sappy Tale

    Elm Avenue, Okauchee, WI
    has no elm trees,
    only the brittle twigs of our memories,
    much like, I suppose,
    Orange Tree Estates, Orange County, CA
    has no orange trees,
    only the faintly remembered aromas from youth,
    the sweet citrus dreams of SoCal hipsters.
    Many pines remain in Pine Top, AZ,
    and you can still find birches in Birch Tree, AR,
    but, for most of us,
    it’s scrapbooks and photo albums,
    taking us back to our roots.

    The elms might be gone,
    but those firs we planted are thriving,
    the ones my drunken Swedish carpenter
    of a grandfather helped me plant.
    The one that was struck by lightning
    on its very first day,
    bam, like a spank on a newborn’s bottom,
    that one is the tallest, no sign of early scars.
    There’s a lesson there, I’m sure,
    and maybe I’ll get it one day.

    The elms might be gone,
    but there’s still a plank swing,
    dangling from a rope,
    tied way up high,
    around a thick oak branch,
    down by the lake.
    It’s been 50 years since I last saw it,
    so surely it’s been changed a few times.
    I wonder who does that,
    and I wonder how they get up there,
    and I wonder if their mom knows about it.

    The elms might be gone,
    but the lilac bushes remain hearty.
    Thank goodness there was no
    Dutch Lilac malady,
    although I’m pretty sure that
    it wasn’t Dutch Orange Tree disease
    that caused all those uprootings in SoCal.
    If this global warming thing,
    or some other planetary sickness
    gets to the palm trees,
    we’re in real trouble.
    but that will be for
    a different poet’s despair.

  74. traci

    Dark and so deep
    See green of every hue
    Life is born in the death of all
    Leaves, dirt, tree, limb, death surrounds us all
    Light barely seen in dark below
    Yet green shoot up in glee
    As if tree green drips from
    Life abounds here

  75. Mystical-Poet

    Forest Sanctuary

    the wind picks up
    branches greet me with boisterous waving
    as a quick burst of nuts drop, I sense
    a welcoming gift from an old friend
    maybe that’s why I’ve come
    to unburden my aspirations
    with the ancestors who dwell here
    to spill the woes of my heart
    for I have always talked to trees
    ever since I was young and one
    trapped me in a dream, I still remember
    as if was but a moment ago
    trees are such attentive listeners, interrupting
    with just a soft rustling of leaves
    a creak, a plaintive moan, then stillness
    it’s their story of strength, patience, and persevering
    thats drawn me to seek an audience, and they invite me to stay
    today I’ve come to hear my favorite story they sing to me
    of how you can still be rooted and reach for the stars
    this forestscaped sanctuary of wisdom and tranquility
    a towering testament to the power of a seed
    so I decide to camp for the night
    a chance to redeem my selfesteem
    waking inside its living dream

    ~ Randy Bell ~

  76. Kimiko Martinez


    I saw her from across the meadow
    a doe tiptoeing tentatively through
    the grass, glancing back at her home
    a thicket of dark, dense green

    She was delicate, but deliberate
    as she strode toward the stream
    a ballerina beautifully exposed
    and perfect in her nakedness

  77. JRSimmang

    Green on the inside
    and bending with the wind
    we separate ourselves from the sky.
    Our leaves rustling,
    branches and limbs,
    the sun, our spirit among the ancient
    hollows, breaking stone with time,
    whispering the untold secrets to all who have ears to listen.
    It is us, fair trees,
    rise up against the dirt,
    spread your tough, tough fingers through
    the oppressive sand.
    Wend your way against the surging plague,
    and stand alone where no on else

  78. Jane Shlensky

    Stones Thrown Through Bamboo

    He planted a twig of bamboo,
    well-rooted, but so small that
    soon he lost it in the undergrowth
    of native plants, forgetting he had
    tucked it into earth in hope

    that one day it would rise to make
    a forest like those of his youth, when
    he’d thrown stones through hollow trunks
    to make them sing. How the wind
    soughed and trilled fluting them.

    He planted yearly seeds, perennials setting
    up their show in their two-year spans,
    fruit trees thickened for three years,
    finally supporting the weight of purpose,
    of apples, peaches, nuts.

    Each plant in its own time pulled life
    from soil and helped to feed him too.
    He moved round stones from pathways
    and stacked them like a shrine to nature,
    suddenly remembering the lesson of bamboo,

    growing underground as if by stealth,
    for years, creating a village root structure
    to support a grove, then springing up lush,
    as if overnight, like a flock of phoenixes
    rising, fluting, reaching skyward, taking flight.

  79. Brian Slusher

    Hour Tree, you have grown
    massive between the lanes
    of I-85, a giant’s leafy diadem
    crowning a hill of grass. I’ve
    sped past for thirty years,
    remarking your progress
    from average to titanic, noting
    the ribbons wrapping your
    colossal trunk for soldiers,
    survivors, the defiantly
    hopeful or stubbornly un-
    resolved, but for me you
    marked the boundary of desire—
    one brief hour to my baby’s
    door. How I loved to see you
    reaching for the sky, tossing
    birds into the air like confetti.
    One day the lightning will find
    you, blight rip at your roots,
    you’ll surrender to a road crew’s
    hard-hatted slaughter, but I’ll
    keep you growing, budding
    beyond fantastic, unseen but
    vast as a summer empire, and me
    on the Silk Road to love.

  80. StephanieRosieG

    at 17, i drove out to the Gila Wilderness
    (not an unusual act); the rugged forest of the southwest
    so different than the northeast’s claustrophobic green

    my heart was broken, as was the case
    more often than not during my turbulent teenage years–
    actually . . . (who am i kidding). as is my case, always

    it was summer, and the monsoon rain coming down
    released the rich scent of piñon and creosote into the foggy air
    i parked my car off a side road leading to Signal Peak

    lightning and thunder partnered in a close and fast dance
    and the idea drifted into my forlorn and dramatic soul
    that death by lightning would be a poetic solution for suffering

    selfish, certainly, but then broken hearts spotlight our vanity
    (temporarily, anyways) and at that moment, the pine trees
    did not seem to protest a self-absorbed sacrifice on their turf

    i took off my shoes, feeling the prickly needles underfoot and
    spread my arms wide, face upward. and i waited. and waited. until,
    rejected by boy, forest, and lightning, i surrendered and drove home

  81. claudsy

    Call Him Black Jack

    He’d stood in his corner for nigh on fifty years,
    A tall specimen of strength and endurance,
    Weathering storms that stripped others of all they owned,
    Though he barely noticed a slight breeze passing by.

    Many had come to him through those long years,
    Children would climb up his body to look him in the eye.
    Other’s sat quietly, speaking of their loneliness or dreams,
    While never asking for his opinion or his approval.

    She came, placed her hand on his side, and breathed deep.
    On a sigh she whispered, “Hello, Black Jack. You’re still here.”
    She patted him, laying her head on his bare skin, and relaxed.
    “I see you’re still vigorous, with many children,” she whispered.

    The woman saw thousands of acorns scattered at her feet,
    She’d planted Jack to chronicle a family history,
    One woven of love and promise, care and hope eternal.
    Now history returned, only one left to remember this oak tree.

  82. claudsy

    Love this prompt.

    Within the Hollow

    Peepers call across sun-dappled greens,
    Tiny echoes of lives spent unseen in trees.
    A brook, shallow and meandering,
    Carries a fallen leaf on a journey through

    Villages of mushroom houses, where
    Does dwell toads and skinks, diminutive folk who
    Reap the bounty from forest caches.
    Sweet treasures Nature provides for food.

    Ancient trees soar above, granting peeks.
    Sky clouds act as shutters on God’s camera,
    Dimming or brightening as needs be,
    To see small creatures and life’s minor doings.

    Green fosters cool breezes, teasing all
    With tickles of scent, moisture, and sound,
    Making calm for growing peace among
    Those who walk here to meet with God.

  83. Lana Walker


    That was the name
    they called me.

    Just because I was
    thin as a rail.

    That did not make
    sense to me.

    A tree is big and
    strong and a
    giver of life.

    thank you.

  84. Domino

    Maybe Just Too Much Imagination

    I must’ve been dreaming but I’ve never
    really been able to convince myself
    that I was. I woke early (so unchar-
    acteristically, for me anyway,
    I, of the all night-book reading jags) and
    feeling restless, decided to get up.

    I’d heard a sound, I thought, a horn? Not a
    car horn, but the kind maybe Susan, from
    Narnia, would have. The sun was just up.
    The dew was thick, this was the Pacific
    Northwest, and there was a light mist rising
    from the ground, tracing the world with silver,
    misty distance indistinct and dreamy.

    I stood on the step of the little gray
    travel trailer that was grandma’s guest house,
    enthralled by the magical lovely world.

    I heard a sound, a horse’s chuff, and looked
    to the left, wondering if the neighbor’s
    horse had escaped his yard again to steal
    apples. But in the little woods down the
    hill from grandma’s house, was a man on a
    horse, who seemed clothed in the mist. He was just
    far enough away that I couldn’t see
    many details. He sat astride, his horse
    impatient, his head curiously turned.

    The blackberry vines stood in the way, a
    bramble fortress, but I could swear I
    armor gleaming under his dark clothing.
    Or maybe the gleam was just gathered dew
    shining in the new sunlight. I could swear
    his ears were faerie pointed, his smile, sly.

    We both stood so until his eager horse
    pulled away and the two of them vanished
    into the woods leaving me spellbound and
    wondering if I’d just had a brush with
    the Fey.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  85. Domino

    Just One More

    It used to be
    the foresters
    tended the forest.

    The took trees
    to ensure the forest
    would remain

    But lumberjacks,
    doing a job
    for corporations
    feeding the need,
    humanities greed
    for toilet paper
    and copy paper
    and paper towels
    and paper plates
    and paper,
    clear-cut the forests
    leaving nothing
    but shattered
    earth and maybe
    a single


    Diana Terrill Clark

  86. posmic


    on either side
    of the car

    a smoke
    of flowers.

    It hurts
    your eyes.

    through the
    skin, erupt
    like fireworks
    from branch,
    from trunk,

    as if the tree
    is so eager
    for spring,
    it can’t stop
    to make stems.

    We can’t stop,
    either, to look
    at it; we have
    other beautiful
    things to see,
    down the road.

    If we come back
    this way in a week,
    we’ll look again
    for bonsai-perfect
    bends, angles
    toward the sun,

    which drives time
    forward, always
    removes flowers,
    no matter how

    we wish they could stay.

  87. DanielAri


    and I got RIFed from a construction gig near Fresno
    after only three weeks, so I was again without work,
    mad as a bee in forced retirement. I must have driven
    east because I found myself in the trees, not wholly
    sober. Ashamed, I threw the half-empty vodka bottle
    out the window, then juddered my truck to a fast stop
    on the shoulder feeling more ashamed now that I
    compounded drunk driving with littering. I got out
    and went to find the bottle. The light was starting
    to fail, and the ground cover whirled in dim shapes,
    the face of the earth looking at me. Then a shack
    was there, not much larger than an outhouse, with
    the door hanging open a crack. The darkness around
    the door was utter, and it terrified me, but I called
    ahead. “Hello? Anybody home?” I opened the door
    and my eyes settled into the one room: bare but for
    a wooden bed frame and a wooden chair. Inside,
    I sat on the bed and looked at the chair as the door
    swung to. Soon I could not see the chair. My rage
    flooded the space floor to ceiling—but did not stay
    for a new flood from the deepest blue of my life
    displaced anger’s color, drowning my body there—
    and then an old freshness I had not noticed before
    sprung out of me, filling the room in the fern green
    proof that because I was breathing I was alive.
    This light show went on, oscillating washes of color
    suffocating, bathing and birthing me until there was
    no me left—so my body stood up to go. At the door
    I said “See you.” Found my truck. Never found the
    bottle. Couple days later, found a new job to hate.

    (*RIF = “reduction in force.” RIFed means getting laid off.)

  88. Joseph Harker

    Vipākaphala II

    These gardens
    drew me in, planted
    thick with boys
    and beauties,
    tulip-fingered tanglewood
    brimming with stories.

    But I won’t
    find a way out now:
    one thorned wall,
    runs nel terzo del cammin’
    and binds me with weeds.

    I’ve learned of
    sowing and reaping
    Anything else to believe,
    I’ve had to give up.

    Sakura 2012

    My mother and I have this April tradition,
    where we drive the cherry-lined avenue, roll down
    car windows and let the confetti blow in: pink
    wax featherdown, Icarene scraps to catch in fists
    for good fortune. I counted once: five hundred trees,
    give or take– but mostly give, spill onto the road.

    And when I think of all the afternoons we rode
    the length of beauty, a Japanese tradition
    springs to mind: where you stand among the cherry trees
    bursting their blooms, shedding all they have. They cast down
    charity by the armful, they open their fists
    for us to gather beauty. Which is light, dyed pink.

    There is a lesson on the underside of each pink
    sunflake, about impermanence, end of the road
    and dissolution. You can fight it with raised fists,
    howling with your last breath: that is tradition,
    for some. But in the end, you find yourself laid down
    under the earth you stood on, rooted there with trees.

    Last year, the preachers stapled flyers on the trees
    about the world coming to an end. No more pink
    fingered dawns, no more bloodstone when the sun goes down.
    The cherries came and went; the End did not. We rowed
    across the new year. We have a long tradition
    of apocalypse, delayed. We clench our rough fists.

    What would we do, without something to pound our fists
    against? Now they quote the Maya, clear copal trees
    to reach step pyramids, looking for traditions
    of calendars reaching zero carved in pink,
    eternal stone. They sagely say, we’re on the road
    to destruction. This is wisdom we’re handed down.

    I don’t follow doomsday. There’s enough going down
    in life to think about: you have to use your fists,
    use your head, keep them clear. There’s a bend in the road,
    which I forget each year. But the best cherries, trees
    going nova, are waiting there, rioting pink
    and passion. What will be my last extradition?

    Only this: among the cut-down trees, petal-bare,
    me and mine, fists clasped. We skipped the pink, this April:
    my tradition now is, just keep walking that road.

  89. Buddah Moskowitz

    Auto-Pruning the Family Tree

    My family tree
    started with Juan and Trini,
    my grandparents
    who came from

    They had ten kids,
    who in turn,
    added 23 branches
    to the family tree,
    and many of these
    sprouted branches of their own,
    beautiful and strong
    all through Los Angeles

    Except for me
    and my brothers:

    no kids.

    My father used to say
    “you can’t miss
    what you never had,”

    but I think my Mom
    probably would have liked
    reaching past
    the barrier of the unknown,
    outlasting her.

    But, Mom,
    you showed us
    what it took to be good,
    self-sacrificing parents,
    and it didn’t look
    so appealing.

    You never bought yourself
    anything nice.
    You didn’t have
    any outside interests
    of your own.
    You never
    went on vacation.

    I wish you could’ve
    enjoyed raising us
    more than you let on.

    Perhaps, then
    I wouldn’t feel
    so perpetually

    about being
    being a nuisance
    a bother,
    a burden
    to someone,

    and maybe then,

    have grandchildren.

  90. De Jackson

    Mama’s Song

    Do you see me? I am oak, standing tall and strong
    and waiting for you, lifting limbs to heaven for your
    safety, wisdom. As you try out your still wet wings,
    I stay, and pray for thick skin, soft hearts in a world
    that gets things backwards and moves things forward
    too quickly. Maple will beckon, sticky and sweet; elm
    will offer her arms, and alms. Willow will give you a
    place to wander, wonder, wallow, weep. But I will keep
    your center safe. I am the forest you will hide in when
    the wolves come. I am the shade to battle the shadows.
    I am the boughs you will climb to draw closer to the
    Son. Do you hear me? Perhaps not yet; these whispered
    leaves are meant for other seasons. Soar now. I will wait.

    1. Joseph Harker

      Besides the wonderful sounds and images that fill this, there is always something touching about the person willing to give up so much so others can rise further. The (wooden, living) shoulders willing to be stood upon are always the strongest.

  91. cam45237

    Weeping Willows

    You have to look up
    When you walk down this Savannah Street
    To see the weeping willows arcing over
    Tangled and entwined they merge,
    Their branches leaning, longing toward each other
    Their leaves on one side silver
    The other glows a sun-drunk green.

    If you only look from side to side
    You’ll only see the tar and chain-link fences
    Starving dogs and shattered windows
    Scattered glass and cans, doors scarred with slurs

    And if you only look ahead
    You’ll only see extreme
    And in the distance
    A single street sign pointing
    The way out

    But if I could find some old abandoned cardboard
    I’d build the simplest frame
    Devote my days
    To looking up,
    The dry dust of my nature cleansed and watered with their shimmered tears.

  92. uneven steven


    a plank,
    a tool but more likely
    the handle of a tool,
    a hammer,
    the cannibalistic ax,
    mostly dead
    for the thin, sappy
    its green skin under
    a rough bark
    feeding tendril clones,
    those leafy solar collectors
    reaching for a sun
    to out shade the
    the inevitable cold snap,
    a downturn too extreme
    threatening to burst those cells
    of perpetual growth-
    the showy fall all gold
    the mostly dead
    on life support
    swaying, dreaming
    in the newly opened
    of eternal, brittle
    spring –
    a plank,
    a tool but more likely
    the handle of a tool,
    a hammer,
    the cannibalistic ax.

  93. lady maggie

    A Sapling’s Sonnet
          Without the silhouette of your design
          extending through the dark across the lake
          to take his shore as yours, he’d never make
          your branches to his stormy skies incline.
          Without the potion of your root and vine
          imbuing wind and soil, he’d never wake
          beneath your canopy, but rather take
          his place beneath your quiet forest shrine.
          I see my way.   Both in and through.   And out.
          What’s unknown grows to what we will believe
          as sure as oaks from smallest acorns sprout,
          tomorrow with today’s past lives to weave.
          To weave.   Yes, that I’ll also see about
          to give breath to all earth and sky conceive.

  94. Andrew Kreider

    With apologies to a great man

    It’s no use. No matter how hard I try
    I just can’t see why people like this book
    I mean, I know that Shel was a great man,
    and all, but as far as I’m concerned,
    The Giving Tree’s an abomination.

    Whenever my grandma read me this book.
    the room would crackle with self-righteous pain.
    Her sad eyes would well up, reminding me
    of what she had sacrificed for my sake,
    all the while hinting this was my fate, too.

    My heart would bounce between guilt and loathing:
    I didn’t know which one I despised more,
    The tree that wouldn’t stand up for herself
    (and please not that the tree is female)
    Or the man who kept coming back for more.

    Talk about a complete lack of boundaries –
    go ahead and chop me down, that’s OK –
    If that tree had just had a therapist,
    maybe she wouldn’t have let herself be
    run over by a narcissistic child.

    My friends, it is high time we took a stand.
    Next time anyone suggests banning books
    in schools, this one should go top of the list.
    You want to have good morals in our kids?
    Then teach them that true love sometimes says NO.

    1. ina

      I totally agree with you – my spouse loves reading this book to the child and I always have to add this ending about how this isn’t how you should let people treat you…

  95. emmajordan

    Walking in the park one afternoon
    photographing the trees
    with thick branches that
    raise their curving arms
    appearing to dance
    twirling in the sun,
    worshiping the creator.
    I happened to glance down
    and saw something
    roots long, thick, gnarled
    snaking under, above, under
    the ground.
    These amazing roots, in places above ground
    had giant knots
    and hollows with rims
    that held
    fallen leaves.
    I spend time capturing these
    with my camera
    and wonder
    which ones will I frame
    to add to my collection of
    natural beauty.

  96. J.lynn Sheridan

    “Sunrise bow”

    I come in peace—I come in shame
    escaping want—drowning in should

    needing pause

    (a rest in mercy)

    enfold me
    Mighty Oak

    beneath the wings of your boughs
    where I am never alone.

    1. De Jackson

      J.lynn, Selah is one of my favorite words, ever. I absolutely love this. “escaping want – drowning in should”…”needing pause.” Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this amazing piece this morning.

  97. kenaipi

    Out In The Open

    Hand in hand they walked
    Fingers intertwined like brambles.
    Stepping over fallen trees
    While birds played hide and seek in the leafy branches.
    Elbows rubbed as they stole kisses
    Under the dappled sunlight breaking through
    The canopy.

    Eyes teased each other
    As the thigh high ferns grew thicker
    The forest quieter
    More secluded as they
    Wound their way from the road
    Where he’d parked his little two-seater
    Through the old growth forest
    To the hidden cove
    Where they planned to picnic
    And frolic and love
    Out in the secluded open.

    They looked around,
    Listened to the chatter and twitter and buzz,
    And laughed at their alone-ness.
    They knelt down on soft green ferns
    Wrapped in each other
    Out in open

  98. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s other prompt from NaPoWriMo: “Steal” a first line from a favorite poem, or just a random line from any poem, and write another poem based on it. I chose Wislawa Szymborska’s “The Joy of Writing” as my source.


    (after Wislawa Szymborska)

    “Why does this written doe bound
    through these written woods?”
    Because she is Joy, and Spring,
    and Innocence, and all the metaphors
    we can attach to her graceful form.
    Because my yard is filled with trees
    early this year in their glory –
    pink dogwood, weeping cherry,
    a blooming apple like a snowstorm.
    Because words are her woods,
    protecting and nourishing her,
    describing her from wet black nose
    to impertinent white tail.
    Because she feeds on images –
    blossoms or bark or tender new leaves.
    Because I found her in my yard
    early one morning, and interrupted
    her grazing, so she loped back into
    the meadow mist and waited
    for me to write of her again.

  99. Gary Glauber

    Lullaby for Forgotten Days

    I honestly can say
    that, upon climbing
    as far and as high as I could manage,
    up to the smaller branches
    that provided breathtaking views
    of the surrounding environs,
    never once did I even consider
    the likelihood of an encounter
    with a cradle rocking, baby and all.
    Breaking boughs, perhaps,
    especially when battling breezes,
    but back then I was young and spry,
    and when I sat high up
    in the tallest of trees,
    I could espy the women off the square
    hanging wet linens up to dry
    with clothespins and patience,
    unaware that soon both would become
    commodities uncommon.

  100. De Jackson

    “Sometimes I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.”
                                                                  – Forrest Gump


    She throws them anyway. Lifts these shards, these
    pebbled pieces high and lets them fly. For the men

    who couldn’t see her and the ones who saw too much
    and stayed too long. For the one who saw right through

    her, held her song in his own heart, but was too perfect
    for this earth and left too soon. She swallows the moon

    and flings her marbled shrapnel far and wide until her
    shoulders ache and hands bleed and something deep in

    -side breaks and at last a long low groan rips her ragged
    throat apart. She stones her past to shatter her glass heart.

    1. Joseph Harker

      It took me a second to figure out the connection to the prompt. Which is good: because this is one of the most charged, powerful pieces I’ve seen from you, and the seed of it should be an afterthought. This stands up and stays standing.

  101. Jamal Abboud

    I planted a linden tree

    I planted a linden tree there, where I was born,
    Where I went and found among others fully grown.
    It lived and lushly bloomed the like of me,
    In coldness, praised not, a fruitless flowery tree,
    And the last one for joy in the healthy field,
    I looked and could remember the history I lived,
    Waited at some earth, single, barren and forlorn;
    My years wilted the like of its flowers, scattered
    Among leaves decaying, fading and departing ways
    Away, the verdant dreams are lost on paths of days,
    So I pity you my life in blossom for vain endeavor,
    While I gazed at my elated tree that would ever
    Stray in silence through the noise of blithe fertility
    Through the spirit of time, and a smile that kept pretty
    Essence on earth that passes the wood with care;
    The only weakness nature allowed, sweet and fair.
    Your grey slender boughs I’ll embrace , where I die.
    Among thy flowers, my human clay shall decay and dry.

  102. Marianv

    The Dark Piney Woods

    When you enter this forest
    Keep in mind that the trees have been here
    Much longer than you
    Much longer than your people and all
    Their memories
    Their dreams and legends of times
    Gone by – but always the times of man.

    The trees remember the time of no trees
    The time when the first spindly stem
    Raised its head upward and began to climb
    out of the sucking muck and mosses
    and into the empty air.
    From the tangle of shrubs, brambles and creepers
    And into the pure absence of nothing
    But itself.

    What it had accomplished had already
    been done by the birds,
    Who, nonetheless were grateful
    For the embrace of branches
    And the canopy of needles that remained
    through summers heat to winter storms
    A place to shelter their young
    And hide from predators.

    Look closely at this forest.
    Follow the paths worn by
    Soldiers in pursuit of enemies
    vanishing into the piney thickets
    Ghosts that spy among the branches-
    March, march, march – ghosts filter
    through the trees – seekers of battles
    Lost in memory
    Where only the trees stand guard
    the sun grows dim and far away
    the young trees dream
    of covering the world.

  103. Jane Shlensky

    Maine Fishing Camp, 1987

    Next morning, we sat on the porch
    of our fishing cabin, drinking coffee
    and staring off into dawning thoughts
    that came like birds to feed, fluttering in

    and out. We both thought of Daddy
    in this place, up early and out on the sea
    with his tackle box and rods, coaxing fish
    one at a time. The lobstermen were

    checking morning traps for their catch,
    lifting up and tossing back, their boats like
    crescent shells floating on that silvery mirror,
    the pink of dawn still tinting the world.

    Their swish and plunk made me turn
    my chair to them to rock and gaze.
    But Mama stared straight ahead to
    a singular oak on the lawn, the woods

    cluttered behind it. When she saw
    that I saw it too, she said, “Old growth,”
    like that said it all. When this place
    was built, the woods pushed back

    for lawn, they left this tree to be all
    it could be, shade, ornament, library,
    and it had exceeded their expectations
    surely. Eight men might have reached

    around its trunk, the limbs raised in perfect
    treehood, full, glorious, and thrice the size
    of woods trees. “Any of them,” she says
    pointing toward the forest, “might have

    been like him had they been given room
    to reach.” I think on that until my coffee
    is cold, how potential of every kind lies
    in living things, leading every one

    to become the best of itself or to choose
    otherwise, allowing for luck and grace.
    This old woman beside me whom I love
    knows what she missed, what she gave

    away for others, and whether in her
    estimation, she has stretched sufficient for
    her God. “He might have been lonely all
    these years,” she says with emotion,

    “but just look at him.” I wonder how many
    giant oaks people humanity, crammed into cities,
    slums, overpopulated schools, each single person
    eager to stretch toward the sun, but stunted

    or reshaped by community. She lifts him up,
    this tree, I see it in her eyes, and wonder suddenly
    if all those stunted forest trees take pride in him,
    seeing something of themselves that couldn’t be

    rise up in him. How must it feel to be spectacular
    alone, magnificent on a lawn overlooking the sea?

    1. Jane Shlensky

      Whoops! the last stanza got cut short. It should be what is below. Sorry about that.

      rise up in him. How must it be to see what you
      might have been grow up before you splendid
      on a lawn? And how must it feel to be spectacular
      alone, magnificent on a lawn overlooking the sea?

  104. zevd2001

    Consider travelling
    when the world was
    unimproved. You didn’t need
    the equipment. Just intuition,
    imagine Manhattan then,
    walking down a tree-lined
    path as the birds and the squirrels
    being themselves scampered. Say

    you needed someplace to live,
    you borrowing a tall tree,
    maybe two or three, perhaps,
    cut the trunks to size, into lumber,
    gathered up the tools, and built
    the house of your dreams. Across
    the street a forest. Thick
    and deep. Ripe for meditation

    just the place to locate yourself,
    to adjust your mindset. Going
    home was a matter of adjusting
    where you were and
    the universe. No matter what time
    of day it was, you punching the data
    into a computer. The monitor
    showed you where you were headed
    absorbing the information, ready
    to return home, incorporating it
    into your memory . . . Ain’t it good
    to know, all you have to do
    is knock wood, and the trees
    will let you in, ever so politely
    when the urge comes to add
    to your book of knowledge.

    Zev Davis

  105. JanetRuth


    To teach a child morality
    With no Base for its stand
    Is like trying to plant a tree
    On shores of shifting sand

    Our eyes behold but half the tree
    Though towering are its reaches
    It is the Base we cannot see
    Securing storm-tossed branches

    The whole of moral law consists
    Not only by instruction
    But by a hidden measuring stick
    That justifies law’s judgment

    How can we teach a child of love
    And yet deny its Giver?
    Love has a Source man cannot prove
    Without a Higher Power

    How can we teach morality
    Or fool-proof absolutes
    And yet ignore the Deity
    That gives the Law its roots?

    As I watch the wind bending the trees I marvel at their strength…
    …the trunk never moves though the branches are thrashed in the gale.
    And yet it is not the trunk which keeps it there. It is the part we cannot see.
    The trees survival depends on the surety of the roots. If the roots are healthy and True the tree will stand.

  106. Kisha

    This is a really rough draft, but I felt the urge to share today :)

    Two’s a Party, Three’s a Crowd

    There is no room for poison
    In my all ready complicated forest.

    Diseased branches must be cut
    So that the whole tree may live

    I have troubled the limbs of
    My social network’s tree
    Stripping bark to test its truth
    Placing it in my mouth to
    Taste its texture.

    I have spit out what was bitter.
    I swallowed what was sweet.

    I moved up the trunk to test the leaves;
    Feeling how the bark cuts or
    Caresses my thighs as I shimmy
    To the brink.

    The dead leaves fell,
    They left a blanket of
    Orange and red confetti
    At the roots to be ground
    Into dust

    The dying leaves will fall
    Whether it is as they take their
    Last sip of air or whether
    The wind gives a gentle shove—
    They will fall.

    The living will remain.
    They alone will be allowed to flourish.
    even they must join the rest,
    But they will be mourned.

    There is just no room for poison
    In my all ready complicated,
    Crowded forest.

    Kisha H.

  107. gtabasso

    The world did not end
    even though we stocked up
    on food and water,
    batteries and ammo,
    but we came to an end.
    We got lost in the woods,
    wandered from the safety
    of a trail, twittering birds
    devouring our breadcrumbs.
    I have lost most of my magic
    feel lost like that day on my horse
    when were were turned around
    at dusk because I trusted him
    to pick his way through fallen trees.
    The storm confused us.
    The ground green like a carpet
    but they were only leaves
    hiding the path
    making us think this ride
    would be our last.

  108. Michael Grove

    Five For

    There are five
    centered by gravity
    the world revolves because of and for

    my children
    Spring buds and Summer leaves
    my purpose, their growth, greatest hopes for

    my parents
    deepest roots, strongest trunk
    many blessings to be thankful for

    my soul mate
    the branches and the limbs
    completing me these five I live for.

    By Michael Grove

  109. Mike Bayles

    Weeping Willow and the Oaks

    The weeping willow stands alone
    but bends toward the oaks.
    It whispers to the ground
    it touches
    while touched by the early sun.
    What it mourns
    the oaks may never know
    as they cluster in an impression
    where they keep to themselves
    while the willow whispers a soliloquy

  110. Nancy J

    Stolen Calm

    Plucked from the roadside under cover
    of darkness, and spirited away to a new home,
    they awoke among elm and locust, maple and
    spruce. The only firs in the neighborhood, they
    grew side by side, their limbs entwining over the
    years in sibling support until neither could be
    removed without the other. They protect a
    home from blustry winter and wild spring, while
    their cousins stand strong in the windbreak
    along a country road, still reaching to close
    the gap left by a decades old theft.

  111. Nancy J

    An Indoor Forest

    Winter was spring and spring was summer
    and, yet, it is still early April. Air conditioners hum
    and lawnmowers rumble over dandelions and
    violets. Bees and butterflies oblivious of the
    calendar, gorge on lilac and forsythia, never
    asking ‘What month is this? What season?’
    In the house, an entire forest of tiny vegetable plants
    huddles in fiber pots, leaning against the window glass,
    gazing longingly at the garden bed, desperate to feel
    the earth. But, the temperature drops again and thin
    layers of ice cover the bird baths. The indoor forest
    grows, transplanted to larger pots, waiting, waiting.

    1. Imaginalchemy

      There is a very tranquil beauty in this poem…makes one wonder which is better, to be safe inside but contained, or risk the harshness of winter but be exposed to the world. Nice!

  112. Jane Beal - sanctuarypoet.net


    The apple tree is in blossom outside—
    petals, pink and white with yellow centers, open like a promise.

    Beside them, little green leaves split open the tender branches
    in silence, in exquisite pain, to be the new life of spring.

    I hear the red-headed finch singing, and I look
    through the apple-blossom branches to see him on a telephone wire.

    Maybe he is singing to the lady-finch nested under my roof.
    She is not singing back.

    A black crow flies overhead, cawing.

    The red-headed singer vanishes in a split second.
    He is gone, wings, song, and all.

    There is only blue sky now through the branches
    and the memory of his unanswered love-song.

    The mother-finch in her nest stays and stays,
    waiting for her babies to be born.

    Jane Beal

  113. Michael Grove


    The willows wept as they gazed
    down on the frozen rock.
    Their roots grow wide.

    The wind stirred the tall pines
    and whispered the word.
    Their roots grow deep.

    The frozen rock was once
    molten and free flowing.
    So full of life
    but now unable to move.

    By Michael Grove

  114. Beth Rodgers


    It’s an old adage –
    Misery loves company.
    People embrace their issues
    Much too often
    Reveling in the undue stress
    Cajoling themselves to
    Become hindrances to their own

    Like a tree falls in the forest
    For no one to hear
    No person can pull one’s sanity
    From the wreckage that is
    The thought process in that moment.

    Clarity becomes a lost cause
    Hidden in a forest of truths
    One tells oneself
    To continue to
    Ensnare oneself
    In pity.

  115. drwasy

    At the edge of the wood

    There is a tree
    at the edge of the wood
    silver-bare bark
    hole-riddled, branches
    twisting toward clouds,
    the only green
    mistletoe hanging
    from highest limbs.

    In the morning
    the thrum of a downy
    woodpecker raps
    against the trunk
    wakes me.

    A storm passes through
    and darkens night
    with cracks and booms.
    In the cleansed day
    the largest limb
    kisses greened meadow.

    In the car
    I wait for my son
    to finish his day.
    When the school liberates
    the children, a rush
    of black and blue, a blur
    of chatter, small panic
    worms under my ribs
    until his gold mane shines.


    Peace, LindaS-W

  116. MiskMask

    This Old Tree

    … wears its age like ley lines
    that encircle and embrace the centuries
    in rings, corseting the trials
    and tribulations of weather,
    feast and famine,
    young lovers’ initials,
    and screed flames that carve
    character on its tempered face.
    Pitched and bare you await
    your fate: a rocking chair.

  117. JanetRuth

    Mr. Willow

    I never told anyone
    That I gave you a name
    And you always reached for me
    Whenever I came

    As you read my thoughts
    You would nod and sigh
    At night in my bed
    I heard your lullaby

    You would listen patiently
    When no one else would
    And I never doubted
    That you understood

  118. mschied

    Wordsy Glade

    It seems as if I sat
    amidst a forest of words
    ideas streached towards the sky
    willows wept poetic strains
    trailing their dangling participles
    in the shaded pool
    in which I dipped my cup
    thirsty for thought
    “Quoth” the ravenous reader
    literature of the ages
    shelved in oaken cases
    timeless works bestrewn
    amidst the undergrowth
    awaiting discovery by
    an unsuspecting traveler
    in a dappled glade

    Inspired by the work of Joel Robinson

  119. Nancy Posey

    Forest Dreams

    In my dreams, I find myself alone,
    surrounded by trees, and yet
    I don’t know if I’m lost, leaving
    behind a futile trail of breadcrumbs,
    wary of sugar-scented chimney smoke
    of witches wanting to devour me

    or if I’ve returned to my natural state,
    a forest primeval, content to live
    off the land, picking berries, knowing
    without a guidebook which to avoid,
    the deadly but appealing.

    I imagine myself half of a Shakespearean
    pair, running from a father not content
    to let me choose my lover, or a niece
    whose very presence plants false threat
    in the heart of my tyrannical kinsman.
    I will eat by the fire of a band of exiles,
    merry and melancholy men.

    At night I might cavort among the wild
    things, howling at the glimpse of moon
    crosshatched by the branches overhead
    or tremble in dread, bedding down
    like a newborn fawn on a bed of leaves,
    ears straining for the sound of danger,
    my eyes, like eyes of prey, seeing shadows
    shifting their shapes , bared teeth, eyes
    red and fiery against the black of night.

    I wake to the sound of branches, alive
    with new leaves of April, tapping
    against my window, beckoning me
    to slip outside, to climb into the crook
    of her trunk, waiting for the wakeful
    song of morning birds, the coo of doves,
    the taunting chatter of mockingbirds.

  120. Walt Wojtanik

    OPEN LETTER TO A KITE EATING TREE (Redux -Concrete Poem)

                                   Hello tree,
                               Remember me?
                           How could you forget?
                      I’ve been letting you win with
                that    insipid grin. I haven’t bea   ten
            you yet!      I see you’ve grown al   though
        nothing has       flown over you in         7 years.
    You won’t let it.                                   Yeah, I get it…
              you’re hungry and it looks tasty for a nip
                                     or a bite.          B
                                     ut, for th            e
                                      love of l           ittle
                                      red-hair         ed girls
                                      I beg of       you, not to
                                     night! Let   my kite get off
                                    the ground!   It’s just me,
                                     C h a r l i e      Brown.
                                       Excuse           me!
                                       I have a
                                       to  kick
                                and a dog to feed!

  121. Ber

    Strawberry fields

    As we run along the strawberry fields
    We tie the tall grass to trick the boys
    We call them from afar
    Come get us we call
    They run like mad
    When all of a sudden they fall feeling sad

    We must run faster now
    They are angry we hurt their pride
    So as we reach the old barn in the field
    We see the beauty of the forest surrounding it
    Fruit filled trees fill the empty ground
    Colours of red and green
    Some old rusty ones as well

    The shadows of the trees shelter us from the sunlight rays
    Thinking back those were the days
    Long and hot
    Nothing to do
    Only hang around and wonder
    Along the forest fields of new

    As our foot prints are left in the ground below us
    We see the old house right in front of us
    We wonder in and have a look
    Old papers are scattered everywhere
    The fireplace that once told stories
    Still remained there

    The trees surrounding this place
    Hold memories of old and new
    Who knows what they say if they could
    Who knows what went on in this place?
    Sitting in the hay barn we all talk for hours
    Until its time to dodge the electric wire, bull, badger, fox and bees
    I stop in my hurry for home
    I look back and wonder just what went on
    It feels like the ghosts of the past
    Are waving goodbye for now
    And waiting for our return
    For now they bid us goodnight

    So as the trees hang silently
    And the meadow stands silently
    Let the moon filled sky
    Sparkle down in it
    Until dawn brings another story

  122. laurie kolp

    The Pendulum

    The tree a vessel
    a way to escape
    through the forest
    of life, and you
    rode it with fervor
    like a valiant knight
    on horseback, whipping
    through the blurry leaves
    as branches scratched
    your face, but you
    never looked back.

  123. JanetRuth

    A Parable of Trees

    In winter you’re a barren twig
    In spring a new-born flower
    In summer-time a cool retreat
    And in the fall…a shower

    Winter, a crown of pristine white
    In spring, a floral cutie
    Your summer-gown, chartreuse delight
    But autumn; oh, ravishing beauty

    I have fallen in love once
    A thousand times each season
    Oh mighty tree, for you ensconce
    The whole of Nature’s reason

    There is a season for all life
    The bud, the bloom; surrender
    Yet, here we earn in living’s strife
    The crown of wisdom’s splendor

  124. Walt Wojtanik


    Hello tree,

    Remember me? How could you forget?
    I’ve been letting you win with that insipid grin.
    I haven’t beaten you yet!
    I see you’ve grown although nothing has flown
    over you in 7 years. You won’t let it. Yeah, I get it…
    you’re hungry and it looks tasty for a nip
    or a bite. But, for the love of little red-haired girls
    I beg of you, not tonight! Let my kite get off the ground!

    It’s just me,

    Charlie Brown.

  125. Ber

    Forest of Wonder

    Running through the forest
    Trees surrounding me
    Grassy mossy ground almost swallows me
    Smells of woodland forest

    Birds fly above in the sky
    Druid rings sit on branches
    Children run and stamp their feet
    Along the wooden decks

    This forest had history
    My father’s hands built it
    As people walk around
    There is barely a sound

    The park is open to all
    Hear the bounce of the ball
    Families having fun
    Picnics and a cream bun

    Swans and wildlife fill this forest
    Its beauty for the eye to see
    I can not believe this cnavass before me
    Like a work of art you see

    Knowing my father made this possible
    Many years ago
    Makes my heart feel warm
    Trees hug each other
    Keep wildlife safe and from harm

    Happiness fills your heart in this wonderland
    Entering makes you happy
    Leaving it you will feel tired
    So as I bring you on this journey of how my father built this paradise
    And his friends who helped you see
    It makes my heart happy
    To see many people smile and the forest wonders ahead
    Thank you for joining me

  126. HannaAnna

    City VS Forest

    The noise of the city never sleeps
    The pavement and buildings are always filled with a sea of citizens
    The threat of pickpockets could be anywhere
    And murder in the dark alleyway is never a surprise

    But in the forest there is peace
    The wind and water rush by in their comforting way
    The crickets sing you to sleep each night
    The trees and the animals and the insects are the citizens here
    Ancient, Mountainous Trees
    Fresh Air

  127. RJ Clarken


    “You can’t sit in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” ~Winnie the Pooh

    A canopy of leaves may arc
    above my head. Tree limbs and bark
    may give me shelter, but I know
    my friends are waiting. Gotta go.

    That old bear understood the need
    which says, ‘Once anchored, then proceed
    to branch out. Life is waiting.’ So…
    my friends are waiting. Gotta go.

    A forest corner’s safe…secure,
    but only briefly. Trees obscure
    the view until their leaves will blow.
    My friends are waiting. Gotta go.

    A metaphor can only state
    the obvious, so let’s translate:
    I’ve got my roots; now I must grow.
    My friends are waiting. Gotta go.


  128. Imaginalchemy

    I’m going to try something a little different, kind of an extra challenge for myself…for at least the next five days, I’m going to tie all of my poems into one story–sort of mini poem-chapters, if you will–still adhering to the theme of each day, so we’ll see where this takes us.

    CHAPTER ONE–Leaving the Forest

    Silence is too heavy here.
    Pollen dances in the slices of sunlight
    Cutting through the canopy
    In the otherwise palpable dusk
    Pervading this ancient garden of moss-clothed giants.

    The old trees, their roots entangled
    Comfortable in the hold of their brethren
    Beneath the cool soil, where the small creatures
    Massaging the gnarled tentacles of their
    Petrified protectors

    Except for one.
    Quivering in the hissing breeze
    Snaking and swirling around her limbs,
    Straining towards the golden pool of sun
    Where her seed had the fortune to land
    Carried by some benevolent fairy-godmother bird
    Across the sea
    (she still dreamed of the spray and the salt,
    which the other trees said was balderdash)

    Little Plum
    Too young to bear her voluptous violet
    But not too old for her roots to reach deep
    Feeling so small amidst these collosal keepers
    Of this overly saturated silence.

    She hears whispers on the wind.
    Take no heed, say the old trees.
    She smells odd perfumes and spices
    Carried on the night
    Leave it be, say the old trees.
    She dreams. She wishes. She desires.
    Don’t be silly, say the old trees.

    But she knows she is meant for more.
    She will bear fruit someday,
    Unlike these archaic elms and ash.
    She dreams of the princes to prize her,
    The lovers to share her gift beneath her bows,
    making everlasting vows.
    She dreams of the empresses that will treasure her,
    The storytellers to spin serenades about her.
    But not here.
    It will never happen in the safety, the silence
    of Here.

    So she yanks up her roots,
    Willing them to take a tentative step
    Above the soil, in the tickling grass
    (Ah, so this is a tickle…how peculiar)
    And Plum shakes her budding leaves–
    No, hair–
    And stretches her slender branches–
    No, arms and legs–
    And bids goodbye to the old trees,
    And seeks out the wind that tantalized her so,
    Following its clues towards the song and sun,
    Leaving behind the
    and the

    1. Hannah

      “Silence is too heavy here.
      Pollen dances in the slices of sunlight”

      Such a dense dramatic beginning!

      I love this part, too….

      “So she yanks up her roots,
      Willing them to take a tentative step
      Above the soil, in the tickling grass,”

      Excellent endeavor to tie poems together! Wishing you luck and ease of words in this process. :)

  129. emmajordan

    I know of a quiet place,
    a solitary place deep within the city.
    Carpet of ivy
    trimmed around with small wildflowers
    where three trees stand
    holding up the ceiling
    with great branches
    sheltering from sun and rain with leaves
    layered one over another.
    The three trees carry stories of lovers
    initials carved,
    some in hearts.
    Full names by the bold ones
    who took the time to use their knives
    a little longer,
    declaring eternal love
    yet not getting caught.
    Initials hearts names
    yet now
    the trees have healed from the wounds
    and the scars tell stories.
    They stand tall
    proud of their message:
    Love reigns.
    The trees are a wonder to me, and I
    ask them,
    Did it hurt when they used their knives to scar you,
    to draw sap as they announced and pledged?
    But as I circle the trees,
    touching the bark,
    words, letters
    I know I want to bring you here
    and have you carve our names within a heart
    for those who find this place to see
    a memorial to our love
    on one of these beautiful trees
    holding up the ceiling
    with great branches
    sheltering from sun and rain with leaves
    layered one over another.

  130. Hannah


    Cotton-ball blossoms
    bounce on end,
    wind whipping
    each length of limb.
    Dancing to the tune,
    swooning to the beat
    of an invisible breeze;
    white tissues wave
    extended gracefully,
    telling twiggy-hands.
    Her slender gray body
    bends tenderly
    to the gush of gale,
    bowing to blustery bursts;
    humbled by hallowing squall.
    She smiles slightly beneath
    brilliant blossom-kerchiefs,
    her breath permeates
    a pungent floral flavor.
    Cotton-ball blossoms
    bounce on end,
    wind whipping
    each length of limb.

    © H.G. @ P.A. 4/10/12

    1. Imaginalchemy

      This makes me think of ballet, so graceful and full of motion. This poem makes me smile too, just what I needed after a day like today. Thank you for giving us your whimsical writing gift, Hannah.

  131. RJ Clarken

    Slumber ‘Leaves’

    There is a tree on my front lawn
    where all the mourning doves are drawn.
    They caw, they woot and even peep.
    What’s in my tree won’t let me sleep.

    Some gusts whip branches high atop
    this tree, now banging without stop.
    Between the doves and branches … *bleep*!
    What’s in my tree won’t let me sleep.

    And just when I might think, ‘That’s it,’
    cicadas in my tree transmit
    ‘cicada song.’ I want to leap.
    What’s in my tree won’t let me sleep.

    At last, I doze, but not for long.
    Woodpeckers?! Buzzing bees?! Wind gong?!
    They join the noisefest as I weep.
    What’s in my tree won’t let me sleep.


  132. PKP

    Do not go into the clearing
    Bambi’s mother said
    Yet sometimes the choice
    Lies between hididen obscurity
    destroyed by conflagration
    and being frankly dead

    In the meadow where
    guns are aimed
    one fawn, one woman, man, or child
    may wobbly wander and be
    saved unmaimed

  133. PKP

    They ran eases into
    Frigid forest hid
    Knowing not what they did
    Ran for survival in respite
    Of frozen fear
    Seizing a single chance
    In an instant’s clear


    There for some
    They found a blank ungiving wall
    And fell in resigned final slumber one atop all
    Others found incredulously others waiting
    Alive and free

  134. PKP

    Easy to get turned around
    Lose one bearings in the
    Tree packed apparent sameness
    Of overwhelmed bountifulness

    One stops running
    aimlessly from tree to
    sits on a rock and in
    filigreed sunlight spaces
    begins to see

    1. just Lynne

      beautiful, never thought of it from this perspective. i’ve enjoyed your poems lately. i need to spend more time reading the poems on here, there are some delightful ones. poetry refreshes my soul.

    2. emmajordan

      Very, very moving. For me…a Messianic Jew (oops–secret revealed, certain to make someone or some ones angry!)…it is not called the cross, but the tree. Messiah hung on the tree. What a blessing and sadness combined to be that tree, because if even the stones will cry out, then why not the tree?

  135. just Lynne

    it wasn’t anything special really
    just a casual walk through these woods
    that weren’t that notable
    hardly any wildflowers or birds
    ugly metal fence rimming the edges

    but then I found a tree
    open like a cave
    i hid in it and had you
    take my picture

    and then we wandered through those
    ordinary woods
    got lost in the trees
    and our conversation
    it took us a while to find our way out
    but i was so full of our conversation
    i didn’t mind being lost

    now i’ve almost lost you
    come join me
    so we can almost get lost together

    being lost with someone else
    is hardly being lost at all

  136. Bruce Niedt

    I will be back with a new poem later, but first I wanted to share something I meant to mention before: My Day 4 poem, “100% Poet Blues”, has already found some popularity online. The other site I’m following, NaPoWriMo, selected my blog Orangepeel as the Blog of the Day on April 5 after I posted that poem. Also that poem is the #1 rated poem currently on Pathetic.org, a poetry community of which I’ve been a member for over 12 years. Everyone seems to especially live the pun that closes the last line.

  137. PKP

    GUump they called him
    and we came to see
    Life as a box of varied
    Envisioned intoned
    Multi faceted candy


    A boy with a brace
    Kept home away from the fray
    Living in protected isolation
    Each safe same day

  138. cindishipley


    Inside this giant forest,
    I search for that one tree,
    that one tree. The one with the roots
    that push through me,
    deeply. The one I can trust
    to never fall while I still live.
    With leaves that never leave.
    That embraces me with
    it’s strong brown arms.
    That I let suck the blood
    like water, out of my heart.

  139. PKP

    Forest thick and dark and deep
    Holding secrets there to keep
    Moldering in the seasons come and go
    A tiny girl child
    Hidden under fallien snow

    Just another unsolved now revealed crime

    Anxious parents still hearing
    summer’s door swing open wide
    answer waited call they cannot abide

    Four-year-old Kaitlin is found

  140. PKP

    In the day of the isms it is tried and it’s true
    Lives the ridiculed beloved Mr Magoo
    Stumbling here and stumbling there
    Creating a world from the myopic thickets
    Perceived where
    All is as he sees cannot separate his he
    From your you
    And stumbling, bumbling, often erroneous he muddles on through


    Magoo gets laser surgery one bright
    unblighted morn
    and a clean separated
    but connected world
    springs in stark relief
    on that new diversified dawn

  141. PKP

    The constant jabber assaults the ear
    With non-sense tweets and texts, voicemail
    Expanding one onto the other
    Cacophony of communication
    So rapid grown to gnarl
    In tangled undergrowth
    Caught without compass

    A single voice
    Rises sweet from
    All the rest
    Clear and constant
    As a birch at lakeside

    1. emmajordan

      Too beautiful. I can’t pick out one or two things I like the most–that would be the entire work. I love your use of word pictures.

      Now, if only this will post. I’ve been having trouble the last two days getting anything to post.

    1. Hannah

      Nice writing today, Pearl! I especially love this one. It really creates the BIG/small contrast in feeling and the thought of where it all began. Beautiful in it’s simplicity. :)

  142. Jerry Walraven

    “This River Birch”

    Catkins hang
    from now budding branches,
    though some of them fall
    to the ground
    creating a colony
    of catkin-pillars
    which seem to crawl
    over the yard.

    It’s related
    to the Alders,
    though I’ve never
    seen them visit,
    there’s bad sap
    between them.


  143. Benjamin Thomas

    Immortal Evergreen

    He was such a tiny sapling
    Tinged with youth
    Exposed to the elements

    But like his predecessors
    His roots prevailed
    Seizing the earth
    Beneath deepening
    His post fixed
    Into immortal evergreen
    Perennial paradise

  144. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    Ocean’s child
    washed in salt
    and tossed by the waves
    of life along a coast –
    rock strewn with difficulties –
    transplanted –
    now a willow –
    gracefully waving
    like the sea
    rock hard, yet
    able to bend when
    troubles come her way.


    Within the cathedral of ancient growth,
    we wandered, not knowing where
    the path would lead
    trusting that our journey here
    was meant to take us deep within

    Within the flow of time, we hear
    the heart beat of the ancient ones
    majestically rising above us
    until one opens to us
    allowing us to step within

    Within the heart of grandmother redwood
    we held each other close
    listening to the whispers of wisdom,
    the tails of truths,
    rising up from within

  145. maxie2


    That supple ground would stain
    your fingers, yet you couldn’t resist

    you bend to linger with the earth’s
    perfume from the foot of a yam hill

    distracted then by a row of new shoots,
    new recruits craning towards the sun

    you enter deeper, knowing no one
    find you here before the day is done

    you venture to the path snaking around
    tiny plots till you arrive at the family plot

    laid before the grandiose apple tree
    your roots mingled with its deep anchor

    intimidate your futile stance, yet you glance
    at the pen and paper in hand and demand

    what you came for – the refuge and solitude
    from a world in which your words bear no fruit.

  146. Walt Wojtanik


    The hundred acre wood has always grown,
    a home for our imaginations to develop and nurture.
    A pure place where we return in our age to the innocence of our youth.

    Winnie the Pooh lives on, a comrade and fellow explorer
    flanked by friends of flesh and fluff, full of love – we can’t get enough.
    Generations have known his elation and joy, every girl and every boy.

    And we are never too old to believe the good that emerged from the hundred acre wood.

  147. Walt Wojtanik


    I sit conflicted,
    a woodman mired in trees;
    poetry and carpentry.
    Finding my way through
    words and woods.
    The words flow naturally,
    filling my pages with a means
    to express and caress
    with the strength of thought
    and my conviction. My father
    taught me to express eqaully
    with wood; the Master Carpenter’s page.
    Transformed and preserved
    the beauty of trees lives on
    after finding their rest. Respect
    is learned in the embrace of trees.
    Poetry and carpentry,
    creative expression in word and wood.

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        Thanks PowerUnit. Some prompts just get under my skin like a splinter, and it never gets out of your system fully! But I finally better get some work done. My boss never struck me as a big fan of poetry. Will be back to read and hopefully comment. Poem on, Poets!

    1. JanetRuth

      HEAR! HEAR! Walt, I have never thought of it like this before…your Dad sounds a lot like mine. He loves nature and working with wood!

      I have an unexpected day off…I am in ‘tree-heaven’!

      Thank you all!

  148. PowerUnit

    You, the cradle of life,
    the original sunbather,
    the pillars of this earth,
    the Grand Pooh Bah of the Ancient Order of Emergents,
    you scratch the sky with your calimari limbs
    and form up like solders along the banks of rivers and ponds,
    along streams and roads,
    in back yards and parks,
    and around dumps and our dead.

    You stand on guard for me.
    Do I stand on guard for thee?

    You offer yourself as sacrifice,
    mindless of your peril,
    uncaring of your loss,
    committed to your purpose.
    Will you look fondly on me when I’m gone?
    Will you remember me?

  149. Walt Wojtanik


    In the clearing, she stands
    a beauty in the making,
    taking her time to fill her role;
    to find her space in this place.
    A daughter determined to stand
    on her own and full to grow
    in span and wisdom; the wise old oak.
    All of nineteen and still quite green.
    She is sure of her root, but
    still not sure in which direction
    she will grow. She does not know
    which path to cover and protect
    or in introspect, how. But there
    she stands, choosing her bit of
    earth in which to nurture and grow.
    And I know, one day she will be uprooted,
    transplanted in a new yard; a new
    piece of ground to call her own.
    And when full grown, the time
    she has taken in making her stand
    will have made her the beauty she aspires to be.
    Daughters are made by men like me,
    but only God can make her as lovely.

  150. Jaywig

    Day 10 – Forest/Tree

    There are degrees of “forest”.
    Bungal is wild, spirit-lit.
    Wombat has clearings that make
    bile rise. My back yard
    has no name.

    Peppercorn tree happily hosts
    termites, I’m told. This explains
    the demolition of my childhood home.
    Here, it seems to thrive
    simply as tree. No easy-going
    hosting, apparently.

    But one day, it will own this land.
    Colonisation in a natural order.
    I wish the gum trees and callistemons
    strength, prosperity.

    Walking in my small wild patch
    I sing and dream of striving to reach the sun
    of brushing my neighbours fondly at dusk
    of bouncing to teach fledglings balance.

    I stand still
    imagine being rooted to the spot
    while connected and enthralled
    by being the source of this world’s destiny.

      1. emmajordan

        This is wonderful, beauty and understanding of life–life will make a way. The last four lines are tremendous (tree-mendous?):

        “I stand still
        imagine being rooted to the spot
        while connected and enthralled
        by being the source of this world’s destiny.”

        I can feel doing that, and what it would say to me.

  151. Walt Wojtanik


    Poets are trees,
    each in different stages of growth
    and development. All with the same words
    and visions of branching out
    and reaching across yards and fences
    for all to enjoy its comforting shade.
    Some become important parts of an ever-growing
    forest of thought; others hoping to get enough light
    to encourage further rooting and expansion.
    But we all share the same wish,
    that our inclusion makes the forest
    plush, and thick and and all inclusive.
    A home for saplings just starting out most unsure.
    A place for new growth to establish further their foothold.
    And a place where large and strong rooted trees
    to share their root to encourage others
    to step into the sunlight of our shared community,
    Our forest grows thanks to the trees.


    1. Ber

      I love this description of all been apart of your poetry tree and the knowledge we share in this community. We help each other leave comments and compliments. Your poem is excellent full of confidence.

  152. Khara H.

    Hush now, and sleep
    for Gretel

    I cannot sleep. My mind is pooling
    like breadcrumbs under boughs—
    wandering the forest is not wise
    alone, not when landscapes can
    so easily blend and fold to wrap me
    in this whirl of imagination, where I
    lose myself in pins and pine needles.
    I cannot sleep. Stepping further
    into woodlands I fear wolves—I fear
    cabins and cloaks, shimmering white
    teeth brighter than the moon,
    glimmering against my own night skin.
    I have seen this place before—
    I know it well—I cannot sleep.

    1. De Jackson

      Khara, both of these are just gorgeous. I adore the “breadcrumbs under boughs” and “cabins and cloaks” of this second one…and terrible white teeth against night skin. SO vivid. You know I am a fan. ;)

  153. Khara H.


    Outside the world swirls upon itself,
    a tumult of breath and gasping
    expanding from the pit of those encroaching
    tree boughs. In this room we cower,

    because I am a coward
    and you love to hover,
    protective garb to my quivering limbs.
    I know this shelter bears more steadfast favor—
    that you could wrap me up like pillows,
    blankets and light, and breath
    life back into my bones.

    But laying here, bone to bone
    and digit to digit I make us look
    out into the whirlwind of ferocious dawn,

    watching those twigs and yawning roots
    and members bend in to one another,
    gathering like pins.

  154. Walt Wojtanik


    The big picture always comes into view
    before the fine details expose themselves
    With the help of an active imagination,
    the dissemination is easier to attain..
    My brain sees things in both bit and pieces,
    and the whole pie. Thoughts that arise
    fill my eyes with a direction, but
    perfection is not achieved unless I’ve believed
    I’ve seen the idea through.. In the end
    the forest and trees become inseparable.

    1. Azaliah

      Lost in Leaves
      Let me sit at your feet shaded by your arms
      Let me lay in your chest protected from harm
      Let me taste your fruits and sip your nectar
      Let us sway in the sun forever
      Let me play in your hair and get lost in your stare
      Let me embrace you in the sun’s orange glare
      Keep my secret in the wispy winds
      I’ll kiss your hard mahogany skin
      Together we’ll be until forever comes
      Our love’s roots have just begun

    2. Azaliah

      I can’t see the forest for the trees
      Can’t get off my knees
      I can’t see the sky for the clouds
      Can’t scream out loud
      I can’t see the ocean for the sands
      Can’t feel my hands
      I can’t see desert for the grains
      Can’t remember my name
      I can’t see the path for the stones
      Don’t want to be alone
      I can’t see God for the idols
      Can’t read my own bible
      I can’t see the forest for the trees
      Somebody help me