Tag Archive | trees


shaded s

I’m standing
not in the way but
here somewhere
yet not quite ready for this
trough that releases

revacating the
I borrowed time
from all those appointments with
destiny, unkept

the scar, make room for
new bloodveins,
roots, branches,
a forest to surround, sing
alive alive-O

what strange things fortune
could reveal
in its own
time, centered in a place where
the lines intersect

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, and NaPoWriMo Day 29(!) a meditation on one of my many states of being.

shaded close up s



Variation on a Theme

two trees s

I spend myself with what if.  I pray to spirits I don’t believe in about things I don’t really know if I want.

What do I want? A light-filled room?  Applause?  Kind words, a gentle touch?

And you? Not even the imprint of your body remains in the furniture.  But you haunt me with your past, the one that spills over into my present and keeps me tangled in lost hours, restless days, sleepless nights.

It’s easy to keep repeating variations on the same inner monologue, difficult to quiet it and focus on something that is beyond the boundaries of myself.

And so I talk to the trees, like Chet Baker did. Do they listen?  They give me mornings of birdsong, flowering into green and then transforming into autumn harvests of red and gold.  Their branches, when naked, dance against clear blue skies.

I talk to the stars—
they pull me out, glimmering–
circles of the moon.

Is that listening?

It’s close enough.

summer tree close up s

The prompt for NaPoWriMo today asks us to write something inspired by another form of art.  For NaPoWriMo last year, all the art I used for the month of April was inspired by the painter Joan Mitchell.  And I have not stopped using her art as inspiration–lately I’ve been obsessed with her tree paintings.  Both paintings, above, were inspired by them.

autumn tree close up s

And so I thought to compose a poem about trees.  The reference today to Frank O’Hara, who was a friend of Joan Mitchell,  got me looking at his poems to see if there were any that talked about trees.  There were, and I modeled the beginning of my haibun on his “Meditations on an Emergency”.

But I also was thinking of Lerner and Loewe’s song “I Talk to the Trees”.  I like Chet Baker’s version, here with Bill Evans and Coleman Hawkins.

I talk to the trees
But they don’t listen to me
I talk to the stars
But they never hear me

You can see some of Joan Mitchell’s tree paintings here.



archives s

No army of beasts or men now darkens this way–
this solitary timeline of an arcane place–
no footsteps follow, no watcher casts an eye

What nourishes this soil, this evaporated sea,
this tangle of intricate light and grace?
No army of beasts or men now darkens this way

Bones resting shallow like lines on the palm of memory–
ghostly wanderers, shaded in lace–
no footsteps follow, no watcher casts an eye

What lasts but flowers pressed between a sigh?
just out of reach, these names without a face–
No army of beasts or men now darkens this way

Return these paths to elements that signify–
erase the human presence, leave no trace–
no footsteps to follow, no watcher to cast an eye

These sagas without end, without anything to say,
these battles over nothing that debase–
let no army of beasts or men darken this way–
let no footsteps follow, no watcher cast an eye

A villanelle for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.  Villanelle is the featured form at dVerse for the month of April.  As far as I could tell, I’ve only done one previously, for a hawk I saw out my window.

archives close up s

We’re about to begin NaPoWriMo–I managed every day last year, and hope to do it again.  I’m sure we will find a few villanelles merged into the daily prompts that you can find here at the NaPoWriMo website.  Submit your site, and then your daily poems in the comments section.


Garden Paths

garden path s

garden path 1 magnetic

Green comes murmuring
between never and always

Secrets bloom

The trees know
every bird in its season,
how air flowers the wind,
why earth listens
to clouds

The Oracle gave me two responses to Sue Vincent’s garden prompt, above.  She was whispering “spring” in my ear.

garden path 2 magnetic

We must breathe
in rhythm with time
as a vast open eternity

No need to remember
which stars awaken us
dancing like wildflowers
dazzled with perfumed song

We are but voices sailing
on wings of magic green fire

garden path close up s

amidst a fierce and wandering tempest

tempest s

tempest magnetic

I was thinking about winter, and considering both Colleen’s prompt words, cold and storm, and Sue Vincent’s photo prompt below.  The Oracle definitely surprised (and delighted) me with the final line.

ancient roots murmur
beneath frosted clouds of trees–
wind bursts into song

tempest close up s


Where are the Birds? (Draw a Bird Day)

branches comp s

awakening, I
see branches growing solid
in the rising light–

the cries of solitary
forms in motion–fleeting, dark

I’ve been drawing the branches outside my window when I wake up.  Above is a grid of 9 of them.  In the early morning light, the birds are like shadows that come and go.

Another poem about branches and birds, Tess Gallagher’s wonderful “Choices”, can be found here.

Happy Draw a Bird Day!




possibilities 4s

fill with
ancient woodsong–
earth provides a bier,
untroubled by short days,
groves of lengthening shadows–
sleeping undisturbed, deep, waiting,
threads gather in anticipation–
life awakening to become itself

possibilities close up 1s

Ethereee for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday words, afraid and grave.

Also linked to dVerse open link night.


midvein s

Each thought leads to branches
without signposts or landmarks to guide the way.
It doesn’t bother me
because my stories travel

within their own lodes.
Each thought leads to branches–
sometimes empty, sometimes overflowing,
tangled and obvolute.

I pause to watch anything, everything
that catches me in its web.
Each thought leads to branches–
I can’t count high enough.

I don’t know if I belong here,
or which way points to where I go.
My destination lies somewhere beyond journeying–
each thought leads to branches.

My response, a bit late, to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.  This has been a chaotic week, and we’re only halfway there…

midvein close up s

Another quatern, another circle.  I am on repeat.


Into Birds

jm 7b blk s

Seeds turn into trees, eggs hatch into birds–
branches sprout new leaves, merging into birds.

Trees together stand, calling to the birds–
nourishing the land, shelter to the birds.

Roots that anchor deep, filling skies like birds–
winds that secrets keep, sailing songs like birds.

Cells divide and grow, ancestor to birds–
ebbing into flow, speaking time to birds.

Through forests dense and green, dreams scatter me into birds–
though feathers stay unseen, wings open me into birds.

jm 7b left s

It seems I missed Draw-A-Bird Day yesterday, so I’ve included them in my NaPoWriMo Day 9 post.  The prompt was to relate something both large and small, and seeds and trees immediately came to mind.  And so, also, birds.

jm 7b right s

The poem is sort of a ghazal.  In the spirit of, anyway.

logo-napowrimojm 7b center s



Cento for Frank O’Hara and Joan Mitchell

jm 11a

It is 12:10 in New York and I am wondering–
suppose you really do, toward the end, fall away into a sunset
that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images–

(and of course we are weeping larks)

Are you crying over what we’ve lost–
rattling leaves and rotting snow
in the empty streets of New York?

Through the streets! Emerald dust whirls.
It is drifting, like a kiss on the air
which the moon had summoned with
the dashing snow! The pure! the fierce! the free!

Isn’t that what the tree means? The pure pleasure
of us, crying its heart
for memory, green thumb up.

                                                                The moment’s gone.

Wet heat drifts through the afternoon.

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday.
The voices began, like so many daggers
while she whispered a song along the keyboard.

Love, love, love–
why do you play such dreary music?

Snow is falling on the sidewalk
and air and noises of Manhattan
are pulling out. And as the sun comes up,
starlings are singing.

Avenues are made for crossing.
I walk through the luminous humidity–
the only thing to do is simply continue.

And when you grow old as grow old you must,
I’d like to have a silver hat please.


The prompt for NaPoWriMo today was to play with lines.  I took it literally, extracting lines from Frank O’Hara poems, and arranging them to make this dialogue of friendship, nature, and New York.  O’Hara had a long and collaborative relationship with painter Joan Mitchell–the collage was inspired by her painting, “Hemlock”.