Dwarfed by soaring sequoias in Muir Woods
Imagine the tree*
that I could touch
my skin ready
for the feel
of its lines and mine
afterwards no red reaction on my arms.
I've seen trees
like things out of dreams:
on a hill near Avignon,
a Van Gogh vision of purple-blue swirled bark
from the sidewalk in front of a cheap, bleak hotel,
connecting all passersby to Vincent's inner world,
jubilantly crying out, "It's real!",
Or the famed redwood residents of Muir Woods,
one of whom I stood inside
for a few
waiting to feel something holy I knew was there,
and almost detecting it.
I have childhood memories of trees with bark like paper scrolls
to unwind and write stories upon
- but I never did, to my recollection.
There have also been
gracefully touching their branches to water I love:
a lake in Florida,
I can only envision standing underneath them.
The trees outside our front window
may as well be made of metal:
for me they are bird perches and weathervanes.
One in the back of our building
blooms into violet flowers every spring,
as if lifting up bouquets to us apartment-dwellers,
who spend so much time far from the flowers on the ground.
I have never touched this benevolent being.
that I can touch
what's left after the tree’s death:
chairs and tables,
sculptures in wood.
Books are the trees I’m closest to.
I inhale their odor with the same exhilaration
that many feel when they’re lost in nature.
(When lost in nature, I only feel lost.)
My hands caress pages
more trustingly than they’ll ever touch leaves.
Perhaps I inspire fear in trees:
a barbaric queen sitting atop a throne of their remains.
I didn't expect to write today. When I got onto OS, though, the title of a post by the incredibly eloquent nilesite caught my eye - and I guess my imagination. Suddenly, I just wanted to get these lines out. *I haven't read nilesite's post yet, so I have no idea how what I've written here relates to what she's written - and I hope there's no similarity beyond my poem's first line, which is an homage to her post's title, because she could lick me a million times over if our writing were compared side by side. Nilesite's post is apparently in answer to an open call by libbyliberalnyc. I love the idea and I want to thank her and nilesite for the incidental inspiration.