Poetry Friday: “Think Like a Tree”

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At the beginning of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie Nolan gazes at the tree in her yard and recalls lines of poetry learned in school:

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,

Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,

Stand like the Druids of old… (From H.W. Longfellow’s Introduction to Evangeline)

To Francie, her tree is hope, for “no matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky.”

I’ve been thinking about trees, and the hope they represent, this week. This might be because a piece of land I pass on my drive to work each day is being cleared and the most amazing tree has been revealed, not twenty feet from the road. It has a huge limb that grows almost perpendicular to the trunk before it arches up toward the sky, creating an inviting perch. Every day I want to stop my car and climb onto that seat.

I loved to climb trees when I was a kid. I loved being enfolded in their branches. My mother used to have a fit that I was too high, that I would fall and break my neck. I never did fall. Somewhere along the way I grew too old for climbing trees. But I’ve never stopped admiring their beauty, their resilience.

Trees nurture us in countless ways. They provide shade in summer and shelter in winter. Our air is purified by their leaves. They produce fruit and harbor bees and their honey. It’s no wonder that cultures throughout history have considered trees sacred and have worshiped them.

“Think Like a Tree,” by Karen I. Shragg captures the beauty and magic of trees and reminds us of their wisdom.

Soak up the sun

Affirm life’s magic

Be graceful in the wind

Stand tall after a storm…

Read the rest of this poem here.

Writers and poets have been celebrating trees for millennia. What is your favorite tree poem?

Be sure to visit Anastasia Suen’s Poetry Blog for today’s round up of poems.

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10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Think Like a Tree”

  1. “I think that I shall never see/ a poem lovely as a tree…” is a great one. And “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now…” I like the one you’ve shared, too!

    Like

  2. Karen’s poem is full of good advice.

    One of my favorites is Robert Frost’s, “Tree at my Window”

    Tree at my window, window tree,
    My sash is lowered when night comes on;
    But let there never be curtain drawn
    Between you and me.

    Vague dream head lifted out of the ground,
    And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
    Not all your light tongues talking aloud
    Could be profound.

    But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
    And if you have seen me when I slept,
    You have seen me when I was taken and swept
    And all but lost.

    That day she put our heads together,
    Fate had her imagination about her,
    Your head so much concerned with outer,
    Mine with inner, weather.

    Like

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