Douglas Woodsum

Ode: To Trees

You giants, you dwarves; you leaners, you poles;
you gnarled fists, you saplings with two leaves;
you bare harbingers of cold, you budding
heralds of green . . . I sing your praise.
You earth holders, you soil
protectors; you bird sanctuaries, you
shelters for the deer; you child dandlers
(I’ve seen you bounce them up and down); you kite
snaggers, you window scratchers and nightmare
screechers making children cry . . . I sing
your praise.
You tightropes for snow, you drinkers
of rain; you gossipers in wind, you blurs
in the fog; you dancers always stretching,
always limbering up but not dancing;
you watchers, you waiters, you accommodaters
(I’ve seen you bend over backwards): you power-
line breakers forcing us to pleasure:
candles, oil lamps and rare silences
in the muffling dark . . . I sing your praise.
You crow perches, you squirrel parapets;
you needle and leaf shedders; you
stream cloggers, you ground matters, you liners
of nests; you woodpecker feeders, you air
purifiers, you sap yielders; you nut
and pine cone droppers, you bark bearers; you
thicket makers, you shade givers . . . I sing
your praise.
You white oaks, you paper birches,
you sugar maples; you aspen, you beech;
you scotch pine, blue spruce, and balsam fir; you
walnut, sweet crab apple, and black cherry;
you lilac, you flowering dogwood, you
horse chestnut; you ash, you locust, you elm;
you weeping willow . . . you trees . . . I sing your praise.

Douglas Woodsum
Ode: To Trees first appeared in Maine Times, Vol. 1, #1.
Poem, copyright © 2005 by Douglas Woodsum
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse