Friday, September 17, 2010

Poem: Have you Ever Loved a Tree?

I read an article in the New York Times on Friday that detailed the devastating loss of thousands of trees caused by a quick but violent storm.  Manhattan and the Bronx were relatively untouched but Brooklyn, Queens, and other boroughs were hit hard.  The article had quotes from several individuals who spoke lovingly and mournfully of the trees that were lost in the storm.  One of the trees, an immense Scarlet Oak was well over 100 years old.   A man was quoted as saying, “When you touched the tree, you felt like you were touching a part of the 19th century.”  There were so many tender words for the lost trees, so much sorrow for trees that had been taken for granted the day before - so hard for so many to accept their absence from the landscape.
I remember a book I used to read to the kids called The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  It was a beautiful story about a boy and a tree and how they played together during the boy’s youth, but as the young man aged he needed things from the tree like its apples and then its branches and ultimately its trunk to sail away to far off shores.  At the end, the man and the tree stump are both old, sitting together and sharing their closeness once again….and the tree is happy.  

Have you ever loved a tree?

I loved a tree once,
Its willowy branches
Swaying in the wind,
Thrashing ‘neath a storm,
Bending but not breaking,
Always standing firm;
I loved that tree.

In summer I could sit
In its branches
And whisper secrets to my friend,
Or dream of far off lands,
Or maybe read a book;
It was that kind of friend,
The tree that I loved.

Even in winter
I loved that tree,
With the frosty snow
Lining its branches
In luminous shades of white;
It cast an eerie shadow in the snow,
But it didn’t scare me,
Because I loved that tree,
And knew that spring would come,

And when it did,
It sprang with life,
Spreading its branches wide,
Making space for nesting birds,
For sprouting leaves,
And for one little girl
Who loved to be
In the arms of her favorite tree.


  1. We need to climb more trees as adults- I think it would be a great stress reliever!

  2. It has been a long time since I've been in a tree, but it does offer a perspective not achieved in any other way. At what age do we choose to quit climbing trees?

  3. What a bizarre and horrible storm- I saw the pics on the NYT! Crazy to have a tornado in such a congested area.

  4. I agree, Amber. It is very rare to have a tornado in the midst of all the tall buildings. So sad to lose so many beautiful trees.