Selected Poems

If what I say resonates with you, it is merely
because we are both branches on the same tree.
–  W. B . Yeats  ___________________________________________________________

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Song of the Flower XXIII

by Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) written in 1914

Song of the flower

I am a kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of Nature;
I am a star fallen from the
Blue tent upon the green carpet.
I am the daughter of the elements
With whom Winter conceived;
To whom Spring gave birth; I was
Reared in the lap of Summer and I
Slept in the bed of Autumn.

At dawn I unite with the breeze
To announce the coming of light;
At eventide I join the birds
In bidding the light farewell.

The plains are decorated with
My beautiful colors, and the air
Is scented with my fragrance.

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of
Night watch over me, and as I
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is
The only eye of the day.

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to
The voices of the birds, and dance
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am the memory of a moment of happiness;
I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.

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Excerpt from “The man who married a tree” by Tony D’Souza, Hollins Alumnus

“None of us went to the wedding; no one was invited. But it’s said he wore a sharp military uniform of some foreign design, brown, with a saber at his side and a few polished medals on his breast. He wasn’t young anymore, though his beard had dark streaks of life in it, and the tree wasn’t either, though she was lovely. Her limbs were long and lithe, black spiders spun gossamer webs about her crown for a veil. Now and again someone would catch a glimpse of her standing by herself back by their bend of the creek, her pinnacle bent like thinking, her leaves hanging over the water like long straight hair and her man not around. It was the water and the stones and her solitude that did it, but she stood there like a Japanese poem.  … Those who saw her spoke of embarrassment, of feeling like they’d stumbled upon a beautiful woman taking a quiet bath. She was a tree that made you consider other trees, the trees that cover the mountains around here in their green and silent multitudes. Trees, trees everywhere. A wide and unknown world of trees bearing down on you when you paused to think.”

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Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918, Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”

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Can You Imagine?

By Mary Oliver

(1935 – )

For example, what the trees do

not only in lightning storms

or the watery dark of a summer’s night

or under the white nets of winter

but now, and now, and now – whenever

we’re not looking. Surely you can’t imagine

they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing

to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting

a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly

more shade – surely you can’t imagine they just

stand there loving every

minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings

of the years slowly and without a sound

thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,

and then only in its own mood, comes

to visit, surely you can’t imagine

patience, and happiness, like that.

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 What did the tree learn from the earth
to be able to talk with the sky?
–  Pablo Neruda

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God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease,
avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.
But he cannot save them from fools.
–  John Muir

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Why are there trees I never walk under but large and
melodious thoughts descend upon me?
–  Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

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It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon
men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that
emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews
a weary spirit.
–   Robert Louis Stevenson

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Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,
I would still plant my apple tree.
–  Martin Luther (1483-1546)

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The wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass, and he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.”  Kahlil Gibran

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Even when its leaves are rustled by the wind
the heart of the tree is still.

You are the same.

~Ivan Granger

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I Saw in Louisiana A Live-Oak Growing ~Walt Whitman

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,

All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,

Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,

And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,

But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without its friend near, for I knew I could not,

And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined around it a little moss,

And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room,

It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,

(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)

Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;

For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in a wide flat space,

Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,

I know very well I could not.

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You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.  ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

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The Two Trees by W.B. Yeats

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.

There the Loves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care;
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.

Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile,
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For all things turn to barenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and stiff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings: alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling branches bear.
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.

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On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time (from Gitanjali)

By Rabindranath Tagore

(1861 – 1941)

On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time. But it is never lost, my lord. Thou hast taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.

Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.

I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had ceased. In the morning I woke up and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.

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Sabbaths 1999, VII 

By Wendell Berry
(1934 – )

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.

With the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.

The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.

What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.

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Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.
~Kahlil Gibran

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All beings are flowers
Blossoming
In a blossoming universe.
(Nakagawa Soen Roshi, 1907-1984)

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For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.  ~Job 14:7

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“And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles. Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children. And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in the rain. You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.”

~Kahlil Gibran, in The Prophet

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The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see Nature all ridicule and
deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all.  But to the eyes of the
man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
–  William Blake, 1799, The Letters

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Gray, my friend, is every theory, (from Faust)

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(1749 – 1832)

Gray, my friend, is every theory,
but green is the tree of life.

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We ask for the blessing of the Inner Guardians of the Order and of our
Druid forebears that this Grove might become a truly holy and sanctified place.

We respect and honour and admire you, O trees, for you represent both
Peace and Power – though you are mighty you hurt no creature.  Though
you sustain us with your breath, you will give up your life to house and
warm and teach us.  We give thanks for your blessing upon our lives
and upon our lands.  May you fare well in this chosen place.   Awen.

~Druid Ceremony for Planting a Grove

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Man is nature as much as the trees.
–  Dan Kiley, American landscape designer

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The talking oak
To the ancient spoke.
But any tree
Will talk to me.
–  Mary Carolyn Davies

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He that plants trees loves others beside himself.
– Thomas Fuller

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Earth laughs in flowers.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Hamatreya”

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I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.  ~Emma Goldman

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People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.  ~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

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For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.  Bricks to all greenhouses!  Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!  ~Edward Abbey

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I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”

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The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.  ~Basho

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To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.  ~Beverly Nichols

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Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

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A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.  ~Walt Whitman

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This earth, all men, animals, fish, fowls, plants, all things—all lived first as spirit entities. Their home was heaven, and the earth was created to be the place where they could take upon themselves mortality. ~Bruce R. McConckie (Moses 3:5)

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‘Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!
~William Wordsworth, “Lines Written in Early Spring,” Lyrical Ballads, 1798

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The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.  ~Tennessee Williams

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Flowers are without hope.  Because hope is tomorrow and flowers have no tomorrow.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

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Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.  ~Ikkyu Sojun

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Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.  ~Heinrich Heine, The Hartz Journey

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Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.
~Francis Thompson, “The Poppy,” 1891

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The Reed Flute’s Song
by Jalalu’ddin Rumi, excerpted from Coleman Barks’ translation in The Essential Rumi

Listen to the story told by the reed,
of being separated.

“Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.

Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.

Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.

At any gathering I am there,
mingling in the laughing and grieving,

a friend to each, but few
will hear the secrets hidden

within the notes. No ears for that.
Body flowing out of spirit,

spirit up from body: no concealing
that mixing. But it’s not given us

to see the soul. The reed flute
is fire, not wind. Be that empty.”

Hear the love fire tangled
in the reed notes, as bewilderment

melts into wine. The reed is a friend
to all who want the fabric torn

and drawn away. The reed is hurt
and salve combining. Intimacy

and longing for intimacy, one
song. A disastrous surrender

and a fine love, together. The one
who secretly hears this is senseless.

A tongue has one customer, the ear.
A sugarcane flute has such effect

because it was able to make sugar
in the reedbed. The sound it makes

is for everyone. Days full of wanting,
let them go by without worrying

that they do. Stay where you are
inside such a pure, hollow note.

Every thirst gets satisfied except
that of these fish, the mystics,

who swim a vast ocean of grace
still somehow longing for it!

No one lives in that without
being nourished every day.

But if someone doesn’t want to hear
the song of the reed flute,

it’s best to cut conversation
short, say good-bye, and leave.

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How can one help shivering with delight when one’s hot fingers close around the stem of a live flower, cool from the shade and stiff with newborn vigor!  ~Colette

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Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you.  ~Edward Payson Rod

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Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.  ~John Ruskin

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Pluck not the wayside flower;
It is the traveler’s dower.
~William Allingham

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When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.  ~Chinese Proverb

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If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.  ~Audra Foveo

Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals.  Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock.  ~Henry Ward Beecher, Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers

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Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman

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The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.  ~Jean Giraudoux

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Why do people give each other flowers?  To celebrate various important occasions, they’re killing living creatures?  Why restrict it to plants?  “Sweetheart, let’s make up.  Have this deceased squirrel.”  ~The Washington Post

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Flowers really do intoxicate me.  ~Vita Sackville-West

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The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke
Of Gods
In languages of rainbows
Perfumes
And secret silence…
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations, www.originals.net

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There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart lords.  ~John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, 1916

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With daffodils mad footnotes for the spring,
And asters purple asterisks for autumn –
~Conrad Aiken, Preludes for Memnon, 1930

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The poet’s darling.  ~William Wordsworth, “To the Daisy”

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Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.  ~The Koran

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If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.  ~Andrew Mason

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
~William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” 1804

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I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.  ~Claude Monet

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The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.  ~Gertrude S. Wister

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Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?  ~Maurice Maeterlinck

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A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions – so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.  ~Adabella Radici

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Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…  ~Susan Polis Shutz

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Have you ever seen a flower down
Sometimes angels skip around
And in their blissful state of glee
Bump into a daisy or sweet pea.
~Jessi Lane Adams

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A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.  ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams

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Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.  ~Lydia M. Child

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You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.  ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

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Advice from a tree

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
–   Ilan Shamir, Advice From a Tree

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Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer

is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible
exception of a moose singing “Embraceable You” in spats.
–  Woody Allen

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When walking through a warm and lush forest setting one’s thoughts can easily
take flights of fancy. It is not difficult to shed the layers of modern life and find
one’s more subtle or primitive beginnings.  Somewhere from deep within the spirit
and majesty of each single tree steps forth and at once one can find themselves
transported to a world of shadow and shade.
–  Morgan La Fey,  Sacred Trees 

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If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame
the wind for revealing them to the trees.
–  Khalil Gibran

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If I thought I was going to die tomorrow,
I should nevertheless plant a tree today.
–   Stephan Girard

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Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
– Kahlil Gibran

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Did you measure to attain your height?
Did you use geometry to radiate your limb?
Did you lament storm-torn branches?
Did you inventory your leaves for the sun?
You did none of these things, yet man in his cleverness
Cannot match your perfection.
– Deng Ming-Dao

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Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life.
–   Krishnamurti

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Alone with myself
The trees bend
to caress me
The shade hugs
my heart.
–   Candy Polgar

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Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars…
and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence
is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason;
they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are
not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.
Look at the flowers – for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable
how happy flowers are.
–   Osho

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The Chickpea by Rumi

A chickpea in a pot leaps from the flame,
out from the boiling water,
Crying, “Why do you set fire to me?
You chose me, bought me, brought me home for this?”
The cook hits it with her spoon into the pot.
“No! Boil nicely, don’t jump away from the one who makes the fire.
I don’t boil you out of hatred.
Through boiling you may grow flavorful, nourishing,
and united with vital human spirit.
I don’t inflict this suffering out of spite.
Once green and fresh, you drank rain in the garden;
you drank for the sake of this fire.

God’s mercy precedes His wrath;
by God’s mercy the sick ones suffer.
It has always been so; this is how God creates all that exists.
Without pleasure, no creatures would come into being.
Without creatures,
what could the burning love of the Friend consume?
Such sorrow may come that you might wish
to be free of this life.
yet the Grace of God will overtake His wrath,
once you are washed clean in the river of suffering.

Chickpea, you fed in the springtime;
now pain has become your guest.
Entertain him well, that he may return home grateful,
and speak of your generosity to the King.
Instead of your vision of good fortune,
the One Who Bestows Favor may come to you;
then all true blessings may be drawn to you.

Just as Abraham commanded his son:
‘Lay your head before my knife
I see in a dream that I must sacrifice you,’
lay your head before God’s knife,
that He may cut your throat like that of Ishmael.
He may cut off your head,
but only the one that is immune to death.
Such submission is the fulfillment of God’s purpose
— seek this submission.

Chickpea, continue to boil in suffering,
so that no self may remain in you.
Though once you laughed in the garden of earth,
you now are the rose of the garden of spirit,
you now are the eye of spirit.
Once you are torn from the garden of water and earth,
you may become food, and thereby enter the living world.
Become nourishment, strength and thought!
Once you were sap; now become a lion in the jungle!

You were born from God’s attributes;
return eagerly to them.
You came from the cloud and the sun and sky,
then scattered and ascended to heaven.
You came as rain and heat;
you will return into the Divine attributes.
You were part of the sun and the cloud and the stars.
You became soul and action and speech and thoughts.

Our victory after the checkmate of death
gives truth to the words,
‘Verily, in being slain there is life.’
Action, speech and sincerity become food for angels;
they climb this ladder to heaven.
A morsel of food becomes food for humanity,
rises from its inanimate state and obtains a soul.

The caravan of spirit travels constantly between earth and heaven.
Join it gladly and freely,
not bitterly and full of hatred, like a thief.
I speak bitter words to you so you may be washed clean of bitterness.
The frozen grape thaws in the cold water
and leaves its coldness and hardness behind.
When you endure bitterness,
your heart will fill with blood like the grape,
and you will be freed from all bitterness.
A dog not kept for hunting wears no collar;
the raw and unboiled are nothing but insipid.”

The chickpea speaks, “If this is so, then help me to boil!
By this boiling you elevate me.
Hit me with the spoon; delight me!
Like the elephant, strike me and brand my head,
that I may not dream of the gardens of Hindustan.
Let me gladly submit to this boiling
that I may be embraced by the Beloved.
Men and women, imagining themselves free,
grow insolent and hostile, like the dreaming elephant.
When the elephant dreams of Hindustan,
he disobeys the driver and becomes vicious.”

The cook says, “I was once like you, part of the earth.
I drank the fire of self-discipline, fasting and prayer,
and became worthy and acceptable to God.
I boiled long in the world of time, and long in the pot of this body.
From these boilings I grew capable of strengthening the senses;
I became animal spirit, and then became your teacher.
While inanimate, I said to myself,
‘You are running about in agitation
so that you might be filled with knowledge
and the qualities of spirit.’
Now that I have become animal spirit,
let me boil again and pass beyond that state.”

Pray unceasingly to God that you might not be misled by these words,
and that you might arrive at your journey’s end.
For many have been misled by the Qur’an;
by clinging to the rope of words, many have fallen into the well.
The rope is faultless, O perverse ones —
it is you who lack desire to reach the top.

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They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see’em.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone.
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
–   Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the
essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not,
when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
–   Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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I never saw a discontented tree.   They grip the ground as though
they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we
do.  They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind,
going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around
the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven
knows how fast and far!
–   John Muir

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If we represent knowledge as a tree, we know that things that
are divided are yet connected.  We know that to observe the
divisions and ignore the connections is to destroy the tree.
–   Wendell Berry

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The best friend of earth of man is the tree.  When we use the tree respectfully
and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.
–   Frank Lloyd Wright

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We can see from the experience of Odin that the image of the tree was the template
within which all of the sacred world could be apprehended. The tree was the framework
within which one “flew” to these Otherworlds. And since the exploration of sacred space
was also a quest into the nature of human consciousness, the tree was regarded as an
image of the ways in which we, humans, are constructed psychically. It was a natural
model for our deepest wisdom, our highest aspirations.
–  Brian Bates, Sacred Trees

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The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree.
The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach
maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time
to lose; plant it this afternoon!’
–  As told by John F. Kennedy

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Being thus prepared for us in all ways, and made beautiful, and good for food, and for building, and for instruments of our hands, this race of plants, deserving boundless affection and admiration from us, becomes, in proportion to their obtaining it, a nearly perfect test of our being in right temper of mind and way of life; so that no one can be far wrong in either who loves trees enough, and everyone is assuredly wrong in both who does not love them, if his life has brought them in his way.
–   John Ruskin, 1819-1900, Modern Painters VI

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 God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!”
–   Joseph Campbell

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Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root.
Malay proverb

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Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
– Chinese proverb

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I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way
they have to live than other things do.
–   Willa Cather (1873-1947), O Pioneers 1913

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Do not be afraid to go out on a limb … That’s where the fruit is.
–   Anonymous

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Sometimes Thou may’st walk in Groves,
which being full of Majestie will much advance the Soul.
–  Thomas Vaughan,  Anima Magica Abscondita

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If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?
We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
–   Jack Handey

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And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance—
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins.
–   Kathleen Raine, Envoi

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The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance.
–   William Butler Yeats, Among School Children

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A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world.
–  Ralph W. Emerson,  1803 – 1882

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There is, I conceive, scarcely any tree that may not be advantageously
used in the various combinations of form and color.
–   Gilpin

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Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart
–   Candy Polgar

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Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first
person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable
type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not
customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total.
–   Rada and Forsyth, Machine Learning

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That each day I may walk unceasingly on the banks of my water, that my
soul may repose on the branches of the trees which I planted, that I may
refresh myself under the shadow of my sycomore.
–  Egyptian tomb inscription, circa 1400 BCE
Sycomore trees were held to be sacred in ancient Egypt and are the first trees represented in ancient art.

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And you, how old are you?
I asked the maple tree:
While opening one hand,
– he started blushing.
–   Georges Bonneau, Le Sensibilite Japonaise, 1935 Dodoitsu

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Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence.  And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky.  For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence.
–  Kim Taplin,  Tongues in Trees, 1989, p. 14.

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As I age
in the world it will rise and spread,
and be for this place horizon
and orison, the voice of its winds.
I have made myself a dream to dream
of its rising, that has gentled my nights.
Let me desire and wish well the life
these trees may live when I
no longer rise in the mornings
to be pleased with the green of them
shining, and their shadows on the ground,
and the sound of the wind in them.
   Wendell Berry, Planting Trees

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To be able to walk under the branches of a tree that you have planted is really to feel you have
arrived with your garden.  So far we are on the way: we can now stand beside ours.
–  Mirabel Osler

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Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees,
then names the streets after them.
–  Bill Vaughan

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I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
Dr. Suess 

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Tree of Liberty:   A tree set up by the people, hung with flags and devices, and crowned with a cap of liberty.  The Americans of the United States planted poplars and other trees during the war of independence, “as symbols of growing freedom.”  The Jacobins in Paris planted their first tree of liberty in 1790.  The symbols used in France to decorate their trees of liberty were tricoloured ribbons, circles to indicate unity, triangles to signify equality,  and a cap of liberty.  Trees of liberty were planted by the Italians in the revolution of 1848.
–  E. Cobham Brewer, The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1894 

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Time-honored, beautiful, solemn and wise.
Noble, sacred and ancient
Trees reach the highest heavens and penetrate the deepest secrets of the earth.
Trees are the largest living beings on this planet.
Trees are in communion with the spiritual and the material.
Trees guard the forests and the sanctified places that must not be spoiled.
Trees watch over us and provide us with what we need to live on this planet.
Trees provide a focal point for meditation, enlightenment, guidance and inspiration.
Trees have a soul and a spirit.
–   Tree Magick by Lavenderwater

___________________________________________________________

That tree whose leaves are trembling:
is yearning for something.
That tree so lovely to see acts as if it wants to flower:
it is yearning for something.
–  Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1395

___________________________________________________________

Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath,
no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.
–  George Bernard Shaw

___________________________________________________________

Trees are the best monuments that a man can erect to his own memory.
They speak his praises without flattery, and they are
blessings to children yet unborn.
–   Lord Orrery, 1749

___________________________________________________________

They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers.
–   James G. Watt

___________________________________________________________

A tree never hits an automobile except in self-defense.
–  Author Unknown

___________________________________________________________

 Someone’s sitting in the shade today because
someone planted a tree a long time ago.
–   Warren Buffett

___________________________________________________________

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy
reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
–   Basil

___________________________________________________________

Verde que te quiero verde.   Verde viento.  Verde ramas.
Green I love you green.  Green Wind.  Green branches.
–  Federico Garcia Lorca, 1899-1936

___________________________________________________________

The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

___________________________________________________________

Evolution did not intend trees to grow singly.  Far more than ourselves they
are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man
is as a marooned sailor or hermit.
–   John Fowles

___________________________________________________________

All it has experienced, tasted, suffered:
The course of years, generations of animals,
Oppression, recovery, friendship of sun and – Wind
Will pour forth each day in the song
Of its rustling foliage, in the friendly
Gesture of its gently swaying crown,
In the delicate sweet scent of resinous
Sap moistening the sleep-glued buds,
And the eternal game of lights and
Shadows it plays with itself, content.
–   Herman Hesse, 1877 – 1962

___________________________________________________________

Good timber does not grow with ease;
the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.
–  J. Willard Marriott

___________________________________________________________

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.
~ Chief Dan George

___________________________________________________________

A society grows great when old men plant trees
whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
Greek Proverb

___________________________________________________________

And so she turns inward on herself
The breeze caressing her, brushing her smooth skin,
Her bright face gazing still. The wind
Whispering darkly secrets of her past.
She has no thought nor cares, nor words
Except to gently brush away the petals falling on her heart.
–  Ken Morrill, Under the Tree

___________________________________________________________

And so she comes to dream herself the tree,
The wind possessing her, weaving her young veins,
Holding her to the sky and its quick blue,
Drowning the fever of her hands in sunlight.
She has no memory, nor fear, nor hope
Beyond the grass and shadows at her feet.
~Hart Crane, Abstract Garden, 1932

___________________________________________________________

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
William Blake, Proverbs of Hell, 1790

___________________________________________________________

Trees are sanctuaries.  Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.  They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
–   Hermann Hesse,  Wandering

___________________________________________________________

He who plants a tree, plants a hope.
–  Lucy Larcom, Plant a Tree

___________________________________________________________

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
–  Abraham Lincoln

___________________________________________________________

Many a genius has been slow of growth.   Oaks that flourish for a
thousand years do not spring up into beauty like a reed.
–  George H. Lewis,  1817 – 1878

___________________________________________________________

We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn
from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which
without stint produces strengthening essences for
us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company
we spend so many cool, silent and intimate hours.
–   Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Regrets, 1896

___________________________________________________________

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.
–  Robert Frost

___________________________________________________________

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.
Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.
Hal Borland,  Countryman: A Summary of Belief

___________________________________________________________

A monk asked Joshu, “What is the meaning of Bodidharma’s coming to China?”  Joshu said,
“The oak tree in the garden.”
A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the living meaning of Zen?.”   Zhaozhou said,
“The cypress tree in the yard.”

–  Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan), A Traditional Collection of Zen Koan

___________________________________________________________

Other holidays repose on the past.
Arbor Day proposes the future.
–   J. Sterling Morton

___________________________________________________________

He that planteth a tree is a servant of God, he
provideth a kindness for many generations, and
faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.
–   Henry VanDyke

___________________________________________________________

In the religion of the Medes and Persians the cult of trees plays an important part,
and with them, as with Assyrians, the symbol of eternal life was a tree with a stream
at its roots.  Another object of veneration was the sacred miracle tree, which
within itself contained the seeds of all.
–  M. L. Gothein, A History of Garden Art, 1928

___________________________________________________________

May my life be like a great hospitable tree,
and may weary wanderers find in me a rest.
–   John Henry Jowett

___________________________________________________________

The Pacific Yew can be cut down and processed to produce a potent
chemical, taxol, which offers some promise of curing certain forms of
lung, breast and ovarian cancer in patients who would otherwise
quickly die…  It seems an easy choice — sacrifice the tree for a human
life — until one learns that three trees must be destroyed for
each patient treated.
–   Al Gore

___________________________________________________________

My heart is glad, my heart is high
With sudden ecstasy;
I have given back, before I die,
Some thanks for every lovely tree
That dead men grew for me.
–   V. H. Friedlaender

___________________________________________________________

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider,
every green tree is far more glorious
than if it were made of gold and silver.
–   Martin Luther

___________________________________________________________

And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds
of trees for food.  Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but
they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them
flows from the sanctuary.  Their fruit will be for food, and their
leaves for healing.
–   Ezekiel 47:12

___________________________________________________________

As the poet said, “only God can make a tree,”
probably because it’s so hard to figure out
how to get the bark on.
–   Woody Allen

___________________________________________________________

Among archetypal images, the Sacred Tree is one of the most widely known
symbols on Earth.  There are few cultures in which the Sacred Tree does
not figure: as an image of the cosmos, as a dwelling place of gods or spirits,
as a medium of prophecy and knowledge, and as an agent of metamorphoses
when the tree is transformed into human or divine form or when it bears
a divine or human image as its fruit or flowers.
–  Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden, 1998, p 128

___________________________________________________________

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden,
but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.
–   Minnie Aumonier

___________________________________________________________

Sensing us, the trees tremble in their sleep,
The living leaves recoil before our fires,
Baring to us war-charred and broken branches,
And seeing theirs, we for our own destruction weep.
–   Kathleen Raine, London Trees

___________________________________________________________

The Sowing of Meanings

By Thomas Merton
(1915 – 1968)

See the high birds! Is their’s the song
That dies among the wood-light
Wounding the listener with such bright arrows?
Or do they play in wheeling silences
Defining in the perfect sky
The bounds of (here below) our solitude,

Where spring has generated lights of green
To glow in clouds upon the sombre branches?
Ponds full of sky and stillnesses
What heavy summer songs still sleep
Under the tawny rushes at your brim?

More than a season will be born here, nature,
In your world of gravid mirrors!
The quiet air awaits one note,
One light, one ray and it will be the angels’ spring:
One flash, one glance upon the shiny pond, and then
Asperges me! sweet wilderness, and lo! we are redeemed!

For, like a grain of fire
Smouldering in the heart of every living essence
God plants His undivided power —
Buries His thought too vast for worlds
In seed and root and blade and flower,

Until, in the amazing light of April,
Surcharging the religious silence of the spring,
Creation finds the pressure of His everlasting secret
Too terrible to bear.

Then every way we look, lo! rocks and trees
Pastures and hills and streams and birds and firmament
And our own souls within us flash, and shower us with light,
While the wild countryside, unknown, unvisited of men,
Bears sheaves of clean, transforming fire.

And then, oh then the written image, schooled in sacrifice,
The deep united threeness printed in our being,
Shot by the brilliant syllable of such an intuition, turns within,
And plants that light far down into the heart of darkness and oblivion,
Dives after, and discovers flame.

___________________________________________________________

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