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What does he plant who plants a tree?|
He plants the friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard -
The treble of heaven's harmony
These things he plants who plants a tree.
Henry Cuyler Bunner,
the Heart of the Tree
|Poem 1 (of 16)|
We had set up camp |
beside the only tree for miles,
and a cricket was singing somewhere
deep within its thorny branches.
Apart from that noise
and the sputtering of the flames,
the world was soundless,
without even a wisp of wind;
it seethed with silence.
In this stillness, I could see,
lay the fruitfulness of the desert
that mystics had found across many ages. ...
continue poem 2... (click)
It calmed the soul and made it possible |
to fix the attention at any point one chose
I wished, that evening,
I could remain in that spot, motionless,
until I had so absorbed the desert's balm
that something unknown to me
dawned upon my understanding.
Lying there at peace, one felt so close to a brink of
revelation that it seemed almost within willpower.
But not quite.
Not on this journey.
Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Fearful Void
Let my soul, a shining tree,|
Silver branches lift towards thee,
Where on a hallowed winter's night
The clear-eyed angels may alight.
And if there should be tempests in
My spirit, let them surge like din
Of noble melodies at war;
With fervour of such blades of triumph as are
Flashed in white orisons of saints who go
On shafts of glory to the ecstasies they know.
Siegfried Sassoon, Tree and Sky
Huge Elm thy rifted trunk all notched and scarred|
Like to a warrior's destiny - I love
To stretch me often on such shadowed sward
And hear the sighs of summer leaves above
Or on thy buttressed roots to sit and lean
In careless attitude and there reflect
On times and deeds and darings that have been
Old cast aways now swallowed in neglect
While thou art towering in thy strength of heart
Stirring the soul to vain imaginings
In which life's sordid being hath no part
The wind in that eternal ditty sings
Humming of future things that burns the mind
To leave some fragment of itself behind.
John Clare, Salter's Tree
Much can they praise the trees so straight and high,|
The sailing pine,the cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop elm, the poplar never dry,
The builder oak, sole king of forests all,
The aspin good for staves, the cypress funeral,
The laurel, meed of mighty conquerors
And poets sage, the fir that weepest still,
The yew obedient to the bender's will,
The birch for shafts, the sallow for the mill,
The myrrh sweet-bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike beech, the ash for nothing ill,
The fruitful olive, and the platane round,
The carver holm, the maple seldom inward sound.
Edmund Spenser, Faerie Queene
This is the forest primeval. |
The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green,
indistinct in the twilight,
stand like harpers hoar,
with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns,
the deep-voiced neighbouring ocean speaks,
and in accents disconsolate
answers the wail of the forest. ...
continue poem 6... (click)
This is the forest primeval;|
but where are the hearts that
beneath it leaped like the roe,
when he hears in the woodland
the voice of the huntsman? Where is the thatch-roofed village,
the home of Acadian farmers,
men whose lives glided on Iike rivers
that water the woodlands,
darkened by shadows of earth,
but reflecting an image of heaven?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, A Tale of Acadie
By the lakes that thus outspread their sad waters, sad and chilly,
With the snows of the lolling lily, by the mountains - near the river,|
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,
By the grey woods, by the swamp, where the toad and newt encamp, by the dismal tarns and pools, where dwell the Gouls.
By each spot the most unholy, by each nook most melancholy, there the traveller meets, aghast, sheeted memories of the Past. Shrouded forms that start and sigh, as they pass the wanderer by. White-robed forms of friends long given;
In agony, to the Earth - and Heaven.
Edgar Allen Poe, Dreamland
Peace to these little broken leaves,|
That strew our common ground;
That chase their tails, like silly dogs,
As they go round and round.
For though in winter boughs are bare,
Let us not once forget
Their summer glory, when these leaves
Caught the great Sun in their strong net;
And made him, in the lower air,
Tremble - no bigger than a star!
W.H. Davies, Leaves
When the long, varnished buds of beech|
Point out beyond their reach,
And tanned by summer suns
Leaves of bright bryony turn bronze,
And gossamer floats bright and wet
From trees that are their own sunset,
Spring, summer, autumn I come here,
And what is there to fear?
And yet I never lose the feeling
That someone else behind is stealing
Or else in front has disappeared;
Though nothing I have seen or heard,
Makes me still walk beneath these boughs
With cautious step as in a haunted house.
Andrew Young, The Birchwood
How innocent were these Trees, that in
Mist-green May, blown by a prospering breeze,
Stood garlanded and gay;
Who now in sundown glow
Of serious colour clad confront me with their show
As though resigned and sad,
Trees, who unwhispering stand umber, bronze, gold;
Pavilioning the land for one grown tired and old;
Elm, chestnut, aspen and pine, I am merged in you,
Who tell once more in tones of time,
Your foliaged farewell.
Siegfried Sassoon, October Trees
The beauty of the trees,|
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.
Chief Dan George
Ay me! ay me! the woods decay and fall;|
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground.
Man comes and tills the earth and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality consumes:
I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit,
Here at the quiet limit of the world.
A white-haired shadow roaming like a dream,
The ever silent spaces of the East.
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Tithonus
I'm going to plant a heart in the earth|
water it with love from a vein
I'm going to praise it with the push of muscle
and care for it in the sound of all dimensions.
I'm going to leave a heart in the earth
so it may grow and flower
a heart that throbs with longing
that adores everything green
that will be strength and nourishment for birds
that will be the sap of plants and mountains
I part the out thrusting branches|
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
There is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.
To learn how to die cut down a tree,|
Watch how so many years fall.
You don't need to have planted it for it to be your life.
You know countless trees have grown
and will grow where this tree falls
Everyone alive now will be underground
and will have gone from roots, branches and leaves
to roots, branches and leaves many times. ...
continue poem 15... (click)
You've seen how the seed of a tree|
can rise from the pit of a stump.
Wherever your feet touch earth
you know you are touching
where something has died or been born.
Count the rings and stand on the stump
and stretch your arms to the sky.
Think only because it was cut down could you do this.
You are standing where no one has stood
but the dark inside a life
that many years.
Now Talking God|
With your feet I walk
With your limbs I walk
I carry forth your body
For me your mind thinks
Your voice speaks for me
Beauty is before me
And beauty is behind me
Above and below me hovers the beautiful
I am surrounded by it
I am immersed in it
In my youth I am aware of it
And in old age I shall walk quietly
The beautiful trail.
Native American Prayer