Sister To Trees (Birthday Poem)

For NaPoWriMo – day 9

Card 17, Gallery 1

Sister To Trees  (Birthday Poem)

Traveler adds another ring
to her circumference.
Although, only a seed dropped
long ago, from beak of a hawk,
knows herself firmly rooted.
In past, put out tender tendrils
to hold her in place, ensuring
space for ever greening.

Soft bark to protect inner
realms from happenstance
of life lived one moment
at a time, breathed in deeply,
then expelled to make room
for more. Bent in high winds,
twisted to breaking point,
yet never truly broken.

Always extending reach
toward broader sky, making
friends with birds who sought
shelter in her tresses, learning
words of their songs, often
humming along, nodding head
to rhythms found in their wisdom.

Knows herself to be sister
to trees, surrounded by others
in a forest filled with colors
of different hue. Sucking up
whatever nurture from ground
and air around her. All of it
used to feed leaves that fill
her branches with life, seeds
of a fruit she names Poetry.

Elizabeth Crawford  4/9/11

Notes: Lucille Clifton used to write a birthday poem, every year. I admired that and although she is at the top of my list of favorite poets, I never felt the urge to follow suit. I did write one on my fiftieth birthday, mainly because it sort of fell out on the pages of my journal, and I felt compelled to finish it. You can find it here, on this blog, under the category At Fifty. I wrote another one when I turned sixty-one. That is posted at my other poetry blog which is titled the same as the Poem, Unraveling. It can be found here:   This image from the Soul Cards has long been one of my favorites and speaks to me deeply. I chose it for this poem because the poem has been dancing inside my head for a very long time. It was time. And birthdays must be celebrated in some fashion.

Soul Cards: both galleries can be seen by clicking on the image. They were created by Deborah Koff-Chapin, and her site is located here:

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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14 Responses to Sister To Trees (Birthday Poem)

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Now I shall forever think of you as a tree! Happy birthday.

    Aren’t colours the same as hues?

    Yes and no, Viv, depends on where you are coming from. People commonly use the two as interchangeable. But, in the world of Art, colors are primary and secondary, while hues are created by the amount of pressure or weight one applies on a brush. It is how an image is created with one color, yet finds definitons within the image using that lighter, or heavier pressure. And here, in the poem, I am speaking of all the poets, each one different, using the same color (poetry) yet making very different definitions with the pressure they apply to those words we are all using. And I must confess that I probably wouldn’t know that except for a high school art instructor who was bound and determined that we understand the meanings behind what we were being asked to do. Thanks for the birthday wishes, and your question,



  2. pamela says:

    Elizabeth, gorgeous poem, the opening is dead-on,
    “Traveler adds another ring
    to her circumference.”
    Happy Birthday! A big hug to you!


    Oh, oh, Confession? I loved that line when it came into my head, but it isn’t without a bit of cheekiness. I’ve gained a few over this past year, lol. Too much time sitting at this computer, she says. Sure, says that other voice in her head, lol. Thanks for the hug and the well wishes, my friend,



  3. brenda w says:

    Your first rwo lines brilliantly portrays a year. Springtime will hit Montana soon-your words heighten my anticipation!

    Brenda, it was 58 out yesterday and they are predicting possible seventies for tomorrow. Oh, happy day is right! Thanks for your generous words,



  4. What a beautiful birthday poem!

    Thank you very much James, I like it a lot myself, lol.



  5. Brilliant opening and consistent throughout – happy birthday!

    Stan, thank you for the kind words and well wishes, it is happy,



  6. Very nicely done. Happy birthday.

    And thank you, Anthony. I keep telling myself the numbers don’t mean anything, right?



  7. Ron. says:

    A beautifully extended metaphor; birds in your hair, roots suckin up the goodness… Oh baby, I’m a tree-hugger! Celebrate!

    Ron, I find trees one of the most beautiful and fascinating elements in our world. It took me a long time to learn how to draw them, and I’m better just writing about them, still. Thank you for your very generous words and I will celebrate, hugging a tree sounds like a good way to do that,



  8. Beautiful sister of trees! Wonderful write. What a birthday present! And Happy Birthday to you!

    Annell, am thinking of going out and buying a better paint program, want to reach out these branches and bear a bit more fruit. I do so love playing with all those colors. Thanks for stopping by and for the well wishes,



  9. Elizabeth, what a BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL birthday poem! This is my favorite of yours so far. I, too, love this image so much, it really speaks to me……..I so love your opening lines. Wow. I’m glad I dont read yours till after I have written mine. This is a really wonderful piece of writing. Years ago, in Tofino, I wrote a poem about a most marvellous gigantic tree, called In the Presence of the Sacred. For your birthday, I add the link to it here. It so goes with this image and what you have written.

    Have a wonderful day. I am heading out, now, back late tomorrow…..E you then!

    Sherry, you are such a generous spirit and I love the Garden Tree. Thank you. You may not have looked, but we certainly connected on this one. Have fun and hurry back. Hugs to you,



  10. Mike Patrick says:

    A poem for a birthday, but a poem of growth and spring too. Just beautiful.

    Mike, at my age spring is a delightful gift. Thank you for your kind words,



  11. Mary says:

    Elizabeth, happy birthday to you. So many wonderful images in this poem, your birthday poem. I especially appreciate the words: twisted but never truly broken. I can identify with this too. Sometimes my limbs have been very bent, but nothing snapped. Strong roots, I guess. I DO picture you as a sister to trees. And poetry is indeed a worthy fruit. Your tree produces in abundance!

    Thank you so much for your beautiful words. I’m glad you see me as a tree, as I see something very similar in you Mary. Blessings to you and lots of hugs,



  12. Gloria says:

    Sheer genius…I love it! This is one of the most beautiful poems with such imagery and depth. Love it, love it, love it! Oh, and Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

    Lol, thank you Gloria, for the birthday wishes and the eagerness, they are deeply appreciated,



  13. Judy Roney says:

    This is an incredible birthday poem and metaphor. The feeling is strength when I read this. I like Lucille and your idea of writing a birthday poem each year. I will try to do that as well.
    Happy Birthday to you!

    Judy, thank you very much for your generous words. I have not been loyal to Lucille’s discipline, but each time I do it, I find myself promising to be more attentive. Hopefully I will be,



  14. teri says:

    Elizabeth- thank you so very much for stopping by my blog and sharing your comments and link. After reading your comment and your birthday poem I realize— Even though I just wrote about my love for willow — I am JUST realizing now… or maybe I am just remembering, my connection with the trees goes beyond observing them. I suppose I am always looking for a mother figure.
    You have blended yourself into your tree… you have found yourself in this poem. And you are lovely..

    So patiently the world waits for me. I had read you “about” page awhile back- and felt I could have wrote the words that said (paraphrasing here.) I know nothing about poetry…. I will learn as I observe the world around me…with images (where I am most comfortable) and words. So very nice to meet you. :-).


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