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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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”

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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””

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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!

  28. 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”

  29. 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?

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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?

  36. 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!”

  37. 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! 🙂

  38. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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 ~

  44. 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

  45. 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

  46. 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.


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