Archives for posts with tag: trees

maple leaves
Autumn Notes
by Joan McNerney

Four sparkling maples
sashay in autumn winds.
dressed in yellow lace.

Half moon hiding in old
oak tree on top of hillside.

Children kicking up leaves
shouting while jumping
over mounds of foliage.

Bright leaves gleaming
in sunshine tumbling
through an Alice blue sky.

Carpets of red yellow brown
foliage unfurls before us.

Walking through trails of trees
becoming spellbound by
leafy giants towering over us.

Morning light reveals
silhouettes of branches
against a dove grey sky.

Grab your coat and scarf.
Where are your gloves and hat?

Hurry, pick gardens of bright
vegetables. Time to cook
big pots of soup, yeasty breads.

Dancing in joyous circles
ragtag russet leaves glow
under the noon day sun.

See them spin rustle-bustle
within a ring of singsong.

Listen to their shuffle
saying they will return soon
dressed in bright green.

PHOTO: Maple leaves and trees by Adaenn (2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I cannot imagine a mall, a jewel, or an honor as great as seeing the beauty around us. Stop this endless wanting and striving … take what you need and just be.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines, including Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Journals, and numerous Poets’ Espresso Reviews have accepted her work. The recipient of four Best of the Net nominations, her latest titles are The Muse in Miniature and Love Poems for Michael  available on and

Falling Off a Log
by Lynne Kemen

Diesel truck
struggling up the hill.
Chainsaws clammer.
Horrible ripping sounds.

My living neighbor
luckily still lives
mostly on Long Island.
He’s 210 miles,
or three and a half hours,
Not hearing. Not seeing.
Not horrified for what he’s done.

He sold the land’s soul in
logging rights.
An ass, a pretty pass.
Wish he’d sold to me,

Poor, poor Johnny Appleseed,
Wish he’d sold to me.
Instead, he spiritually seceded.,
leasing off what the future needed.

Stingy, greedy
Ebenezer Scrooge from bone
to the bark. Bah humbug
to the habitat here.

Melvillian long months,
the rolling tide of
splintering wood.
Shipwrecked by sound.
The shrieking of trees.
Branches broken.
Roots wrenched.
Trees toppled.

As a getaway,
I gaze at a goldfinch.
He quietly bubbles
in a clean cadence.

The woods will revive,
regrow on its own.
Twigs sprout and tweak.
Not in my lifetime.
The earth grows to glory,
but not in my lifetime.

PHOTO: Male goldfinch (spring plumage) on forsythia bush. Photo by Jill Wellington.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem about the land across the road from my home in the Great Western Catskills in Upstate New York. The logging went on for nearly two months and all the wildlife was terribly disrupted.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynne Kemen lives in Upstate New York. Her chapbook, More Than A Handfulwas published in 2020. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in La Presa, Silver Birch Press, The Ravens Perch, Fresh Words Magazine, Blue Mountain Review, and the anthology What We See on Our Journeys. A Runner-Up for The Ekphrastic Journal’s competition of Women Artists, she is an Editor for The Blue Mountain Review and The Southern Collective, both in Atlanta, Georgia. She is on the Board of Bright Hill Press in Treadwell, New York.

by Thomas Zampino

I noticed only yesterday but the signs seem to have existed forever.

The trees in my backyard, the ones that have always been so elegant, so strong, so reliable, and just this side of ancient, have grown grossly lopsided.

Perhaps it’s the ground beneath them. Unanticipated upheavals are now feeding at their roots. Or maybe it’s the years of neglect, years when I failed to see their fragility.

Even their limbs are pointing back towards the earth, as if reaching down for the comfort of days long gone.

Will their own weight finally bring them down?

Not if I can nurture them in time. Not if I can reclaim those anchoring roots.

Not if I finally understand.

Lessons abound.

Previously published at

PAINTING: Avond (Evening): The Red Tree by Piet Mondrian (1910).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Healing, whether touching upon an individual, a society, or the world at large, does not require massive or sudden change. Subtle yet definable movement—patiently, mindfully, and consistently undertaken—will yield enormous growth. Because we are so radically but differently empowered, each of us is capable of offering up just one modest step towards healing that, together, can change everything. We need only notice and begin.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas Zampino, a New York City attorney, writes poetry at His work has appeared in, among other places, The University of Chicago’s Memoryhouse Magazine, Silver Birch Press, Bard’s Annual 2019, Bard’s Annual 2020, Trees in a Garden of Ashes, Otherwise Engaged, Chaos, A Poetry Vortex, and Nassau County Voices in Verse. A video enactment of his poem Precise Moment was produced by Brazilian director and actor Gui Agustini. His first book of poetry, Precise Moment, was published in August 2021.

Autumn Leaves O'Keeffe
Letting Go
by Anne Walsh Donnelly

It is cold and dry in Raheens Woods,
trees stretch their half-clad limbs
towards a patchy blue sky.
I look up and try to clear my mind
of the briars that steal September’s light.
I pluck a holly leaf from its bush,
run my finger along the smooth surface
until I reach the tip and blood drips.

Further into the woods, blankets of dense moss
hang from dank black branches.
I pick a sycamore leaf, the colour of an aubergine
from the stony path, put it in my pocket,
as I would a relic, comfort between my finger
and thumb, until ground into purple dust.

A breeze blows a mustard-coloured beech leaf
into my face, tears follow it to the earth.
I close my eyes to the heaving,
my breath a wave of silent wails.
I wrap my arms around the trunk of an oak,
press my heart against the dark bark,
and ask it to help me let go of the withering
leaves littering the floor of my Autumn heart.

PAINTING: Yellow Leaves by Georgia O’Keeffe (1928). (Copyright, Brooklyn Museum, 2006)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I go to the woods for comfort and guidance and I trust the healing power of nature. I watched Autumn leaves fall from the trees and realised that trees willingly let go of that which is withering to make way for new growth. I wrapped my arms around an oak asking it to take from me what I don’t need any more and give me what I do need. I went home to write this poem and realised how nature and humanity are interconnected and how we both have the potential to heal or destroy each other.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in the west of Ireland. She was recently appointed as Poet Laureate for the town of Belmullet in County Mayo. Her full-length poetry collection, Odd as F*ck, was published in May 2021 by Fly on the Wall Poetry Press, which also published her poetry chapbook, The Woman With An Owl Tattoo. To find out more, visit

mahogany 1
A Chat with Mahogany
by Bonface Isaboke Nyamweya

This buzz and hum
of voices
And the growl
of traffic
Blend into a solid mutter of sound
That taps my mind only partly
My mind is lost
In the pustule of rage
Ripening deep down in me
From yesterday’s chat I had with my friend:
The mahogany to the right of my land
Fenced with rock plants, flowers, cacti, and ornamental trees
I had gone there for circumspection
“You established me here forty years ago.”
He bubbled flapping the leaves
“But I’m alone. My children, you’ve sure murdered for cents…”
“How do you know that?”
“I have been watching you for long
The power-saw sliced them for charcoal
And some succumbed to your axe for firewood
And today you’ve come, to see how much I’ve fattened for splitting
You have demolished our generation
And by so doing, you’ve demolished your generation.”
A gentle breeze whistled and died
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We the trees are your ecological neighbours.
When you efface us that way, who can purify the air you inhale?”
“We shall create artificial trees.”
“What will be the cost of doing that?”
“Don’t mind.”
“But we the trees feed you too. Will the artificial trees bear fruits?
Will they give you herbs?
Will they host the birds?”
I had no word to say
Tears tore themselves down my cheeks
I apologized to my friend Mahogany
I have started a mission
Of a seedbed of trees
With a spade and hoe at hand
Join me we plant the trees
For my efforts of care, yet more your efforts of care
Shall keep our vegetation thriving
And soothe our wounded nature.

PHOTO: Mahogany Tree by Rafał Próchniak.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was writing this poem, I remembered how we planted trees in Jinja at the Philosophical Centre of Jinja while pursuing my BA in Philosophy, Environmental Ethics unit. Seeing trees as our ecological neighbours is something vital in order to respect vegetation as part of our ecosystem, hence not as simply objects for our gratification. This is crucial in the healing process of our mother earth. This is the gist of my poem “A Chat with Mahogany.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1997, Bonface Isaboke Nyamweya is a Kenyan poet, novelist, and young Pan Africanist. His short story “Whose Title Died” was published by the Pan African Writers Association in their anthology, Voices that Sing Behind the Veil (2021). Peeling the Cobwebs (2020) is his first novel and it treats the theme of tribalism in an imaginary African country called Ricafa. Her Question Pills (2020) treats feminism and African womanism. He is currently winding up his Masters in Philosophy at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Find him on Facebook and on Amazon

Witch Brooms
by Laurel Benjamin

Some of us will not make it, expire singing
the same chord with rattled tongues
but don’t worry, we’ve signed our wills
burned our love letters—

water locust
Texas walnut
chalk maple
pyramid magnolia
two wing silver bell

Rip out their lungs, the tree managers
and climate experts, then like us they cannot
breathe. Grate their fists to pink cardboard
strike a match to their hair.

Tell them to stop salting roads
whole towns of deformed buds
welting and drying off, stunted
branch tips, witch brooms.

We can make up for what is lost
like a waist cincher. Small branches hanging
don’t whittle us
black cape and pointed hat

raise us like your own children
peeling like paper
leaves greened then yellowed
arms reaching to gather sun

Previously published in Tiny Seed Literary Journal (April 2021).

PHOTO: Witch’s Brooms by Licht-aus.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Extinction is one of the topics I write about, in concert with nature metaphors overall. I read many journals about natural history and topical articles, including one that discussed the problem of salting roads in winter, in colder climates in the U.S. The only way to express the problem was in a persona poem, making the disturbance even more intimate.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurel Benjamin is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she invented a secret language with her brother. She has work forthcoming or published in Lily Poetry Review, Black Fox, Word Poppy Press, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, Trouvaille Review, One Art, Tiny Seed, California Quarterly, MacQueens Quinterly, among others. Affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers, she holds an MFA from Mills College.

I want to teach Emma who is two
by Patrick T. Reardon

I want to teach Emma who is two
to look out this window
at the chaos of yellow and green
on the mid-autumn tree
— not so chaotic when,
from the ground,
she can see the tree trunk,
solid thick, rising up and branching
and branching with myriad leaves,
each one a tiny branch
but bursting with surface
to feed on light and color
to signal the arc of its journey —
and to notice
how it looks now on this cloudy day
and yesterday in the joyful sun
and tomorrow with the rumble rain,
and to feel with her eyes
the touch of the grit
of the mortar and bricks
of the brown wall behind these leaves,
and to see with her spirit
the spirits moving around
behind that wall,
living the arcs of their journeys,
and to rise up
in her connection to mystery
to the heavens to look down
on this city, this world,
to look down
and see the billions of spirits
on sidewalks and forest paths,
on fields and in towers,
each yearning, each breathing,
each hoping amid the chaos of pain
in the arcs of their journeys,
to look down
and be one with those multitudes
— You, Emma, are multitudes —
and one with the world where they live,
the breathing, yearning earth,
as beautiful
as this mid-autumn tree
outside this window,
which is as beautiful
as every thing
in the Cosmos
and as she is.

PAINTING: Chestnut Trees in Autumn by Hubertine Heijermans (1977).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Emmaline Patrick Reardon is my granddaughter and is soaking up everything she can about life. And she finds it all delightful. So I am always looking for stuff to teach her, including the really big stuff.

PHOTO: The author’s granddaughter, Emmaline Patrick Reardon, with the tree featured in the poem, upper right.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of ten books, including the poetry collections Requiem for David (Silver Birch Press) and Darkness on the Face of the Deep (Kelsay).His memoir in prose poems Puddin’: The Autobiography of a Baby is forthcoming from Third World Press, and his chapbook The Lost Tribes will be published in January 2022 by Gray Book Press. His poetry has appeared in America, Burningwood Literary Journal, Rhino, Meat for Tea, Under a Warm Green Linden, and many other journals. His Pump Don’t Work blog can be found at

oaks ivan shishkin
by Robbi Nester

I look for wisdom to the oldest trees, redwoods and sequoias,
old Druid oaks. You can trace their history in hollow trunks
and broken branches, blight and lightning scars on bark.
They’ve survived the fall of Angkor Wat and Carthage,
seen the rise of nations like Palau. If they ever ponder
the end of everything, they know even the oldest
trees will fall, the forests burn or be covered
by the sea. It wouldn’t be the first time.
I’m aware of Earth’s ongoing extinctions, oceans
paved with plastic waste, but they must feel it
in their roots. Maybe they foresee a world
that we can’t fathom, where new green
shoots will someday rise, renewed.

PAINTING: Oaks by Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have written many poems about the climate crisis and the disasters it has spawned, but few about possible solutions to this problem. However, it strikes me that since the solution to so many medical problems has come from the natural world, particularly from forests and trees, perhaps the answer to this one lies there as well.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester is a retired college educator and author of four books of poetry and editor of three anthologies. Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have been widely published, appearing or forthcoming most recently in California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Spillway, Sheila Na Gig, Book of Matches, Verse Virtual, Live Encounters, SWWIM, MacQueen’s Quinterly, and many others. Visit her at

  A Sestina for the Well-Being of Mother Earth
  by Jeannie E. Roberts
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PHOTO:  Rush River, a 49.8-mile-long tributary of the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. Photo by Aaron Gunnar.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My dad played a pivotal role in my upbringing; he introduced me to the wonders and the importance of the outdoor environment. He registered our home, the land near the Rush River, called Stonehammer*, under the state’s tree conservation program. Here, we planted hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of white pine and other coniferous trees. I recall our long hikes along the river, through the meadow, forest, and woodlands removing other people’s trash; as we’d wander the land, he’d identify the various trees, plants, and wildflowers. Though the Rush River property was sold years ago (in fact, its new owner recently bulldozed both the house and the garage), I’ll remember it fondly, though sadly, too, for it was the last place I saw my dad in this corporeal life. His knowledge of botany was impressive and it stuck with me. When I identify a tree, plant, or wildflower and when I retrieve roadside refuse, I can thank my dad. My sestina honors my beloved father, Donald E. Roberts, our natural world, and the beautiful fragility of Mother Earth.

*Stonehammer refers to the name of the Rush River property with rock cliff, near the unincorporated town of Martell, in Pierce County, Wisconsin, USA.

PHOTO:  The Rush River with rock cliff (Stonehammer) by Jeannie E. Roberts.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeannie E. Roberts has authored seven books, five poetry collections and two illustrated children’s books. Her newest collection, As If Labyrinth—Pandemic Inspired Poems, was released by Kelsay Books in April 2021. She’s a nature enthusiast, Best of the Net award nominee, and a poetry editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. For more, please visit: Jeannie E. Roberts | Poets & Writers (

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Love Birds
by Jaya Avendel

Under the plum trees I stand
In the shivering light
The scent massages moisture into my skin.
One tree reaches toward the other
Blooms white, blooms pink
The color of my lipstick
Nudge of the wind and the branches kiss.

Under the plum trees I sit

Hands to the earth
I hold a marble and
Call it a pearl. Turning it
Slowly in the sun I watch the flat facets
Glitter and reflect my eyes back into me

Under the plum trees I linger
Six years of courting and
I am still waiting
Still waiting for your nuptial flowers to
Bear fruit.

If I do not look away
Do not blink, do not dare to dream
I will taste you on my salted tongue yet.

PAINTING: Pale Plum Tree by Okumura Togyu.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The peach and plum trees on my backyard hill are currently in bloom. They bloom brilliantly but have never given more than a handful of fruits over the years. Though I have never enjoyed the famously beloved streets of cherry tree blossoms unfolding in person, this year it has come unexpectedly to me in a mountainous form. As I taste spring, I honor it as I can in words to share what is more than experience.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jaya Avendel, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is passionate about life where it intersects with writing. Her writing is published at Free Verse Revolution, Lamplit Underground, and Emotional Alchemy Magazine, and most recently in Heart Beats: An Anthology of Poetry. She writes creatively at