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.


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