Archives for posts with tag: trees

Hiker in Front of Giant Sequoia
A Texas gal sees the redwoods, for the first time
by Sue Mayfield Geiger

I remember that trip to the redwoods
When you had just 24 hours before your next audition

Your Texas mom, needing a facelift, agreed
To go up the California coast to see

the massive beauties that had captured your soul
“You have to see these!” you said

Off we went with no agenda, little money
But you were persistent even though you knew

You could be called back at any time from
Your agent, telling you to show up for another

Audition, drop ’em dead, get the part, this
Could be it; or not; or maybe; who knows

Life is always about taking a chance,
Honing your craft, giving it your all

But right now, we were on a mission
Taking your below sea level mother

To the higher points of your state where
Trees dominated the sky, defying aging

Getting called back to L.A. numerous times
We’d take off again. You, not an unnerved bone

In your body.

Countless trips back and forth gave us a window
When two weary-eyed souls finally stopped

At a Starbucks and spent $40 on overpriced pastries
And expensive coffee before we fainted from exhaustion

Until we reached our destination and by God!
You were right.

It was worth it!

PHOTO: Old-growth forest, California, by Welcomia, used by permission.


PHOTO: The author’s son, Adam Mayfield, in a grove of redwoods near Leggett, California, by Sue Mayfield Geiger (2013).

Sue Mayfield-Geiger

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Mayfield Geiger is a freelance magazine writer, now in her seventh decade. She does not tweet or have a Facebook page. She got an English degree at age 57; sang professionally by the age of 20 (worked with Kenny Rogers); did a tandem parachute jump when she turned 50; has interviewed several celebrities, most memorable was Willie Nelson at his ranch near Austin; became a runway fashion model after the birth of her second son when she was in her early thirties; sang at that same son’s wedding reception in Guadalajara in 2016; soaked in the hot springs of Esalen at Big Sur, California at two a.m. with millions of stars above the night sky. She has traveled to Scotland, England, France, Italy, Bahamas, Mexico, and several states in the U.S., but her favorite adventure of all was tent camping at Inks Lake State Park, Texas, while growing up. The smell of bacon frying on a Coleman camp stove always finds its way into her meditation.

Summer sun shining through the canopy, ecology background
Under the Arch of Elms
by Marilyn Zelke-Windau

The breeze would float elm leaves
like the little oval pancakes
we hoped for each Saturday morning
venturing out on a heat buttered griddle.

We’d lie on the grass in the front yard,
count as many as we knew numbers,
think of the serrated knife,
the bread knife,
try to slice pebbles
with elm leaves.

Summer heat trapped the upstairs
of a Chicago bungalow,
made us tired-cry
to sleep out under the arch
of elms.

We pedaled trikes, bikes
in their safe tunnel,
played hopscotch,
four-square, concentration
in the street
of their protection.

Summer green to fall yellow,
we blanketed our dollies
with elm warmth.
November gone, March emerged.
We followed their pattern
and grew, too.

I packed a suitcase
within their shadows,
moved my childhood to the suburbs,
heard they were ill.
Their dying did not open the sky.
Their dying did not open their limb-arms.
Their dying only offered emptiness, youth gone,
a grave under the arch of my elms.

PHOTO: “Elm leaves” by ST8, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Traveling back to a childhood home, on a street now empty of trees, was like going to a funeral. Gone were the beautiful elms of my childhood, their lives taken by Dutch elm disease. Gone also was my youth, but not my memories of it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilyn Zelke-Windau is a Wisconsin poet and a former elementary school art teacher. She enjoys painting with words. Her poems have appeared in many printed and online venues including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, Your Daily Poem, Midwest Prairie Review, and several anthologies. Her chapbook Adventures in Paradise (Finishing Line Press) and a full-length manuscript, Momentary Ordinary (Pebblebrook Press), were both published in 2014. She adds her maiden name when she writes to honor her father, who was also a writer.

Talking with Trees, My Imaginary Skill
by Jeannie E. Roberts

Along our road, near the old man’s garden,
behind the patch of corn, the neighborhood oak

waits to greet me. I turn the corner, watch
for her crown, bouffant, bright with October,

and the mellow aura of fall. She motions my way,
“Here, come closer.” Her stance is grounded,

confident; her branches toned with the windswept
succession of years. “I feel your happiness,”

she whispers. “I gain energy from your visits.
Through the seasons, you’ve given me strength.”

I thank her and reply, “You’re the reason for my
happiness. Your friendship and example have

given me courage. You’ve shown me that change
is the only constant, and the consistency of change

is rooted in the power of perseverance, right down
to the pith of it―in the cycle of birth and rebirth.”

We say goodbye. I bow. She bends. “Until
tomorrow, My Friend.”

I walk away smiling, knowing my imaginary skill
is not imaginary at all.

PHOTO: The Neighborhood Oak in October, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (Photo by Jeannie E. Roberts.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Living midst the natural beauty of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley, it’s easy to lose oneself within its bounty. When I walk and explore the area, I’ve found that I not only greet the birch, oak, and pine, but also catch myself chatting with the critters along the way. Season after season, I stand in awe of our trees, forests, and woodlands. Henry David Thoreau said it best, “I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”

Roberts (2)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeannie E. Roberts‘s fourth book, Romp and Ceremony, a full-length poetry collection, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is the author of Beyond Bulrush, a full-length poetry collection (Lit Fest Press, 2015), Nature of it All, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and the author and illustrator of Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book (2009).She writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings.  Learn more about Jeannie at

Author photo by Bruce Pecor. 

I believe I have it in me to become a leaf
by Jane Burn

I believe I have it in me to become a leaf.

I feel the idea of me moving, through
        the heft
        of trunk,
        from the
        of the core,
the tapering branch, through living wood,
seeping germ of unborn vein and green.

On, through the fine bone of twig-end, on ’til
I break my bud’s head, birth myself to light,
keep time with spring. I am curled as a fresh-hatched
moth’s uninflated wings — the air is my hemolymph,
the sky welcomes my eclosion. I make my green —
eat the light, feed the tree with sun-spun sugar,
swell it, nourish it, sing while I soak the summer.

Growgrowgrowgrowgrow. I change my skin —
can wear the change of seasons, loose the verdant
cloak of youth, age to autumn’s fire, become
the mute of winter’s brown. I imagine my grip,
loosened from cold bough — I have no fear
of    f
Not when I am less than the weight of breath,
landing bed soft with already unfastened kin.

Somewhere in me is the skill to be born,
grow, live, nurture, feed, adorn,
drink, make, fade, curl, dry. D
Look at the sky from where I lie,
waste to my inner f r a i l. Rot, soak, nourish,
be taken to heart by lateral, sinker, tap.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Here is Jane, beginning to blend in with trees and flowers. Her tattoos are her camouflage.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There are so many abilities I wish I had, or have but could do better! If I had to choose a set of skills I admire the most, it would be the quiet life of trees. Their strength, their durability, their secret and complicated inner life — their ability to survive, year in, year out. The way they almost seem to die for a season, then blaze back into life. I love that they take nothing but the nutrients they need to live, yet give back cleaner air and beauty to us, who seem as a species to give so little back in return. In my poem, “I believe I have it in me to become a leaf,” I pushed this idea further, imagining how it would be to have many lifetimes, reincarnated as such a small but vital part of nature. I also tried to add a visual representations of this within the poem, with the actual placing of letters — to try to make the poem more than just words.

Current Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Burn is a writer and illustrator based in the North East of England. Her poems have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She is also the founder of the online poetry site, The Fat Damsel.

AUTHOR PHOTO: When Jane is not working or writing, she finds happiness with horses.

GG by the Bedford Oak2

Here I am reading The Great Gatsby Anthology in front of the majestic and venerable Bedford Oak. This emblem of our village (Bedford, New York) is estimated to be more than 500 years old. This incredible white oak stands with a girth of more than 23 feet, with a spread of branches that goes out to some 130 feet. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t capture the whole of it. This tree was growing when Native Americans populated the area, it stood strong through local events in the Revolutionary War, and most certainly was thriving when Fitzgerald was penning The Great Gatsby in the early 1920s.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, and teacher. In April 2015, he took part in Found Poetry Review’s PoMoSco project. Recent poems are published or forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Pilgrimage Magazine, West Trade Review, Calliope Magazine, The Bookends Review, Deep Water Literary Journal,, The Legendary, Xanadu, and Think Journal. His first collection, Small Consolationswas published in July 2015 by The Aldrich Press. A chapbook entitled Memory Marries Desire will be available from Finishing Line Press in fall 2015. He contributed his poem about Nick Carraway, “I am not even faintly like a rose,” to The Great Gatsby Anthology.

Micanopy Palms
by Mary Bast

Sequoias drummed a riff
across the miles
through swaying chants
of cornfields, psalms of snow,

to sea, flat cool-
white sand, jazzed
waves, the syrinx song
of oystercatchers.

Edward Hopper days:
palm trees etched
on turquoise sky, a painting
lonelier than death.

To halt the salty
appetite of blue
I think of
risqué words,

of robin’s eggs
and Bessie Smith
no one to tell
your troubles to.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For most of my adult life I swore I’d never live in Florida, picturing the hot sun, flat vistas, and sinkholes. California’s Sequoia National Forest was the rich and redolent landscape of my dreams. Then life happened, gradually taking me from the West Coast to the midwest and eventually to north central Florida. I’ve come to love the terrain and wildlife that inspired Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, but wrote this poem when I first arrived, still grieving the losses that brought me here.

IMAGE: “Micanopy Palms” (Micanopy, Florida), painting by Mary Bast.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Bast writes poetry, found poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her poetry chapbook Eeek Love and two found poetry collections – Unmuzzled, Unfettered and Toward the River – are available at A Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest finalist, Mary’s work has been published in Bacopa Literary Review, Blue Monday Review, Connotation Press, right hand pointing, Shaking Like a Mountain, Six Minute Magazine, Slow Trains, The Found Poetry Review, The Writing Disorder, Pea River Journal, and Poetry WTF!? She’s also an Enneagram coach, author of seven nonfiction books, and painter of landscapes, waterscapes, and animal portraits.

In The Church of the Allambee Valley
by James Walton

There is no balm for the yearning of eucalypts,
candlebarks stretch up this vaulted wanting
dahlias splash an insane chant over a paddock
a calf nods and backs into a startled wander,
one day she might raspily lick the mystery of my supplicant salty palm.

The kunzea shakes its head at the darting thoughts of ransacking      honeyeaters;
galaxies of shining filaments catch their own suns
striped feathers and silver eyes are lavish ideas with nowhere to go.
In winter a faltering hand of snow,
sticks a gentle finger in my eye stopping the risk of pride.

The chalice Ash joins no offering of passage,
the canoe drifts from tree shape misleading entry
hands worked free an illusion of transit,
pushing into the promise finding
hardwood bars all ways against the bubbling rainbow.

At my pew in the white gum I am an uneventful and regular event.
A shrieking squall of red and green blue yellow veers –
leadlight to frame the river noise below holding
at anchor in shards of haphazard reflection,
memories slipping through my hands to their own lives.

My prayer, more like the old family dog sitting alert in the herb garden,
each working day at the same hour
listening for the school bus,
panting for the children who no longer arrive
but never doubting the shadowy promise.

PHOTO: “Ghost Gums” (Australia) by James Walton.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Walton is from the Strzelecki Mountains in far South Gippsland — the last step off the Australian mainland before Antarctica. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. He was shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize in 2013, and Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition 2014.

by Susan Marsh

Harried work day, mind ablaze.
Budget. Spreadsheets.
Eyes crossed over Power Point slides.
At last, escape.
Sun warms my back.
Feet pound the trail.
Lungs fill and life returns,
Limbs loosen.
It takes an hour.

I reach the secret stand: my aspens.
More truly, I am theirs.
One brain-frying afternoon, we met.
I saw their twisted trunks.
Heard a grouse drum. A bee’s drone.
A leaf rustle. I lay down.

The trees held me then,
Held me in green baskets.
Their twisted trunks made me smile.
They took me into their galleries of
Sweet breeze and sunshine.
I find them again today.
Could find them with my eyes closed:
Bees drone, grouse drums, home.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The first time I found this stand of aspens, not far from my house, was on a day when I was feeling sad, alone, and in desperate need of comfort. It felt as if the trees invited me to leave the trail and climb up a brushy slope to lie down in the dry grass beneath them. There I cried, felt sorry for myself, wrote in my journal, and took a nap. I dreamt I was, or maybe actually became, part of the aspen stand for a time, and when I stood up I nearly fell having forgotten what legs and feet were for—I had roots. Ever since, this stand has offered solace, and I go there often, mostly in a good mood these days. I have written about this stand in prose, but this was my first attempt at capturing what it means to me in a poem.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Aspen Trees” (Wyoming) by Susan Marsh.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Marsh is an award-winning writer living in Jackson, Wyoming. Her work has appeared in Orion, North American Review, and others. Her books include War Creek and A Hunger for High Country.

by Tamara Madison 

Now what must we do?
We have bathed in the dew
of the honey-eyed moon
run naked through
the glistening branches
to stir our seed and fill
our arms with life.
We have sought that rare plant
that none will tell the name of
nor its look – all that we
might learn thereby the secret
sacred language of trees.

IMAGE: “A Blue Tree” by René Magritte (1962).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison teaches English and French at a public high school in Los Angeles. Raised on a citrus farm in the California desert, Tamara’s life has taken her many places, including Europe and the former Soviet Union, where she spent fifteen months in the 1970s. A swimmer and dog lover, Tamara says, “All I ever wanted to do with my life was write, and I mostly write poetry because it suits my lifestyle. I like the way one can say so much in the economical space of a poem.”

Magnificent bass-baritone Paul Robeson (1898-1976) sings the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer.

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

SOURCE: Poetry (August 1913).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918) was an American writer and poet mainly remembered for his short poem titled “Trees” (1913), published in the collection Trees and Other Poems (1914). A prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. While most of his works are largely unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies.