Thirteen Ways of Looking at Trees

I

They stand tall and proud

Wise and ancient

Slightly condescending

 

II

Under their branches,

Lovers meet,

Embrace as their hearts unite

 

III

Safety in numbers

Or is that for social reasons?

Except the vengeful ones

Which poison their fellows

 

IV

Symbols of life

Givers of the oxygen we need

Bearers of fruit and edible goods

Would a dead thing aid the living?

 

V

Weeping willows

Branches long strands of tears

Leaves entering rivers:

An actual flood of emotion

 

VI

Silent witnesses

They watch over all

But never pass judgement

And never testify

 

VII

The unwilling providers of paper

We kill them without thought

Until they become rare

 

VIII

A natural habitat:

Nests on its boughs,

Caterpillars on its leaves,

Rabbits at its roots

IX

Silhouettes in the moonlight

Drained of their colour

Black bleak phenomena

Supernatural beings

 

X

Curving trunks

Holes through the centre

The playgrounds of elves

The sites of fairy rituals

 

XI

Their coarse bark a thick skin

They shall not show pain

Even when they bleed the sap

Which courses through their veins

 

XII

The wind disturbs them:

Their leaves rustle in indignation

To protest against the whistling,

Wraith-like witch

 

XIII

Their song is taught to all their children

Yet never to be heard by any living soul

But rumour has it that snippets can be heard

When the interested mind explores their culture

The End

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