Tag Archives: trees

The tree of reason: a replacement poem

Reason is an undirected graph
in which any two vertices are connected
by exactly one simple path.

Reason is a perennial plant
with an elongated stem, or trunk,
supporting leaves or branches.

In some usages,
the definition of reason
may be narrower.

Reason can be empty
with no nodes
called the null or empty reason

or reason is a structure
consisting of one node called the root
and one or more subnodes.

12 APR 2014

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Two Murders

Two murders I witnessed in opposite trees
across the canal, voicing cacophony;
a trial of wills between territories
resulting in blackened skies, as the light breeze
of morning and rain brought a chill to my knees.

Not often such numbers are gathered this way,
suggesting an omen to christen the day
accompanying storm clouds hung heavy and gray,
their pregnant, expectant rough edges in fray
awaiting the hour when havoc would play

on all thoughts of picnics, or sunlit parades.
I watched as the black wings formed out of the shade
there in the tall cypress where their nests were laid;
and just for a moment, felt cold and afraid —
then sipped from my hot cup of coffee, just made,

and drew on my pipe, let the thick smoke surround
my head, and then slowly, not making a sound,
rose from my chair, let my feet feel the ground
cool underneath me, and looked once around,
and thought of myself, quite small and unprofound.

Two murders I witnessed in opposite trees
this morning while killing time quite patiently;
and though it was quite unrelated to me
I pondered some moments on the irony
that such things should happen, and that I should see.

04 DEC 2004

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Late May at Twilight

The night is late arriving yet again;
and in the day that lingers past its time
it casts tentative shadows, brushed in hues
of lavender and faded rose and blue,

while twilight, holding back its unsure breath
as if it means to swell and burst its seams,
drops only hints its patience has an end
and seems shy and unwilling to intrude

upon the sun’s last monologue, intoned
in barely whispered wisps of light.
It lets the final words slip out, then fade,
as finally, the dark blue curtain falls.

Against this backdrop, gentle mauve and pink,
the distant stars appear like bits of thread;
there is a quiet rustle in the trees,
and suddenly, the cool of evening comes.

27 MAY 2004

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Earth and Wood

We are not lost here in these woods,
nor are they lost in us;
if you listen, still, for just a moment
the sensation of roots, searching

for moisture in this often parched land,
pushing away the organic substance
that keeps us from being grounded,
sensing which way is the center,

will slowly come upon us,

like dawn, stretching its lazy arms
to embrace the freshness
of the world.

Listen: you can hear the Earth
breathing softly with you,
laughing when you start to smile
and weeping when you walk away.

If we are to be lost, She says,
we will be lost together.

01 MAY 2001

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The Crepe Myrtle

To see the stump there in the yard,
Its edges barely higher than the grass,
You’d never know the tree that made
A stand in that spot for so long.

You might, when seeing flowered sprouts
From that dead trunk, imagine it;
But unless you’d seen it growing,
For you there would not be much tree.

Imagining is not knowing.

To know, you’d have to see the way
It stood, for years, attempting height,
Pushing its branches to the wires
That crossed the lawn from street to house;

And one time, just to keep it free
From in the electricity
A man had come with a ladder
To amputate its reaching arms.

But it was already half dead,
Thanks to the efforts of a boy
Who’d swung a cruel baseball bat
Straight at its chest some time ago.

And though it bravely put out blooms
In spring and then again in fall
The termites finished up the job
And hollowed it, primed it to fall.

And then, the hurricane rolled in.
Although I could have with a push
Snapped its rotted wood, I did not.

It was the wind that brought it down,
With a loud crack, right where the car
Might have been, had we not pulled
It off the drive, safe from the rain.

I had to saw it up and lay
The pieces by the curb as trash,
Shave the split stump down to the ground
And stuff the hole left with spare sod.

Sure, it was dying, or near dead,
But it made a nice bit of shade
Against the kitchen windows,
And colored our bit of front lawn
With bright fuschia-colored blossoms.

Next to the old stump, a young tree
Is growing; we planted it there
A spring ago. It will not shade
Us all that soon, but when it does
We will have a far greater need:
For as it, like the myrtle did,
Reaches out to touch the bright sky
We will be slowing down and old.

It will be quite nice to sit down
In the shadow of that dogwood,
And remember the crepe myrtle.

23 AUG 2003

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A Willow Tree

Bending down to touch the path at my feet,
do you shed your warm tears for me and mine,
letting the bitter salt blend with the sweet
fragrance of the surrounding oak and pine?

What sad piper lays down his head to sleep
beneath the stretching limbs of your embrace,
while dreams of a troubled, maddened world keep
the lines of sorrow etched in his still face?

Amidst the green strands of your falling hair
is a tenuous fortress that protects
the heart throughout these mysterious times.

Are you mourning those who seem lost, out there,
those heart-sick souls society neglects?
Do you shed those warm tears for me and mine?

07 MAR 2003

for LJ user stephanielynch

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Among the Trees: a villanelle

I have sought among the trees for peace,
and found in their shade a quiet knowledge;
there is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

The echoes of time are within their sky-bound reach;
and to find my own small sound in their endless song
I have sought among the trees for peace.

The many years I spent, wasted, in universities,
and the words I threw, mindless, at the world, seem trite.
There is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

And all the wild students I thought I could teach,
have grown apart from me in spite, and so
I have sought among the trees for peace.

Between two worlds I often stand, unsure which way to leap,
and listen to the oak and pine, their quiet words of wisdom:
there is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

While other fools proselytize and in their sadness, preach,
I have found solace in the branches of another school.
I have sought among the trees for peace;
there is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

24 NOV 2002

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