Thirteen Ways Of Looking At Trees

For We Write Poems poetry prompt: Thirteen Ways of Looking

Thirteen Ways of Looking At Trees

1.  I am a sister to trees
and a maker of stones.

2.  Seeds of the Tree of Knowledge
of Good and Evil grow in the soul
of every individual.

3. Hawk sits silent sentinel
in barren branch of tree,
fierce eyes peering near
and far, like prince watching
his realm from palace balcony.

4. Before she was Adam’s first wife,
Lilith was high priestess who made
home in center of Tree of Life,
with a dragon wrapped about its roots
and a vulture in its branches.

5. Trees bend with wind,
wind roots around boulders,
and can form a lovers embrace
that lasts through generations.

6. One August, with a hand saw and axe,
she chopped down young sapling growing
too close to house, dragged it into my room,
and trimmed it with tiny twinkling Christmas
tree lights. Then sat with a grin, waiting
for my return.

7. It is written that Isaiah hid himself
in hollowed out center of a cedar tree,
then found death in womb-like embrace.

8. Somewhere in deep forest, fireflies
flit through twilight trees, giving birth
to stories of wee faerie folk.

9. Man has chopped down innumerable
forests with loud noises of axe and saw
to cover the sound of trees weeping.

10. Tree endures by always reaching
for higher, wider place, while digging
roots into rich soil, anchoring itself
while nurturing earth’s surface.

11. A path wends its way to the sea,
while trees provide shelter and place
of rest for passing travelers at its edges.

12. I have seen a tree growing in waters
at middle of Old Woman Creek. Tall
grasses bend in breeze at her base,
like children gathering at her knees
to hear her whispered stories.

13. Young Innana, Queen of Heaven,
ordered Tree of Life to be cut down
and used to make her bed and throne.
Foolish woman, preferring wooden
existence rather than rich, wild
moment by moment life.

Elizabeth Crawford  8/25/11

Notes: Stories, fairytales, legends, and myths often provide the way we define how we actually see things. Isaiah is a prophet from the Old Testament, who was being chased by a ruler who didn’t appreciate his messages. He found Isaiah in the tree and had it chopped in two while Isaiah was trapped inside of it. In mythology, Lilith was a high priestess (about two thousand years before the Hebrews claimed her and made her the darkness that man should fear in all women), and Innana was the Queen of Heaven who demanded that her consort (some say it was Gilgamesh) get rid of the inhabitants of the Tree of Life so that she might use it as a symbol of her power. I wanted to show the deep richness to be found in trees, not just on the physical plain, but also on the psychological and spiritual level as well. If you would like to hear a song about an old man and a tree, you can listen to  it 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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16 Responses to Thirteen Ways Of Looking At Trees

  1. Poets United says:

    Love the title….and the exploration of trees.


  2. margo roby says:

    Funny…I was going to write my thirteen on the sugar maple outside my window. It would have been fun to see the parallels, if any. However, the muse did not cooperate, so I am glad to have your thirteen views of trees. Stanza 9 pulls at my soul each time I read it.



  3. vivinfrance says:

    Lovely, lovely poem. I wish I’d chosen trees!


  4. Mary says:

    Beautiful, Elizabeth. It does not surprise me at all that you write about trees!


  5. Mike Patrick says:

    You reached your goal, Elizabeth. My eyes are a little wider, and they will look at trees differently.


  6. pamelasayers says:

    Elizabeth, trees were the perfect subject. I absolutely love stanza two. There is so much truth in it.



  7. Jess P says:

    I really liek 3, 8, and 9. You did a fabulous job using various mythologies related to trees.


  8. neil reid says:

    Elizabeth this is lovely in more ways than most obvious. And I like the leaning you embraced, the cultural and personal “mythic” stance. The photos of course do add rightly to the experience reading too. Real green (like trees, like native wild growth) is more than merely green – it is alive, which is also exactly how this poem feels (maybe we could count the growth rings here!). Lovely. One of my favorites for this prompt.

    All fine, but yea, I got some specific favorites here! Numbers 3, 6, 12, (and sorry to break the numerics thus far… ) 13 too, were special for me, but most especially 12.

    Glad you came to the dance. ~neil


  9. Irene says:

    Your mythology of trees is great Elizabeth. I’m enamoured of 12 & 13. Old Woman Creek is wonderful.


  10. Sigh. Reading this was perfection. Glorious!


  11. b_y says:

    I like your series. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that people identify with different ones? Old Woman Creek.


  12. Renee Espriu says:

    Trees are an amazing part of our earth and provide so much to so many. I recognize each and every one of your ways to see them and I’m sure you could find so many more…endless, it would seem. These are all images and words to think about.


  13. Mr. Walker says:

    Elizabeth, your look at trees in mythology was most apt. They are wonderful and amazing in their own right, and we honor that in stories and myths. Stanza eleven stands out for me, more about the journey than the destination.



  14. Sherry Marr says:

    I love it even more this time through, Elizabeth. The trees weeping line really hits me in the heart. I know that trees feel pain and fear at the approach of the saw.


  15. thanks so much for sharing this Elizabeth!


  16. frankhubeny says:

    Nice ways of looking at trees. I like the 9th one the best.


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