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Older Poems

Trees Through

Most of the instructors of my year-long teaching credential and M. Ed. program were promoting a worldview and societal vision I thought silly. I soon learned that no one could actually fail the classes: we students were simply required to turn in assignments until they were acceptable.

One assignment was to sit in a science building courtyard and journal a story about something we saw. I wrote his poem, knowing it would satisfy the instructors (because of its sympathy with vegetation) while also humoring my rebeliousness (I did not write a story, as was assigned). In my defense, it really was an especially pathetic pair of trees whose "planter" was a cement rectangular bench filled mostly with gravel.

So grey and lifeless is the gravel ground
And two green trees growing up, the roof around
The concrete lying, "No, I don't intrude.
You miss your neighbors. But don't call me rude.
That's life, that's progress—trees make way for man.
And men build buildings. I am but who I am."
The berries drop onto the roof and rot.
"These should have been our children but they're not!
We trees, we want to grow and have our spot.
But growing is not all that makes a tree.
Boxed in by concrete I'm a mockery:
A one tree forest—there is no such thing!
And what? What good did this humankind bring?
They look at me and write a journal page.
They feel inspired. They do not feel my rage.
They call it science, but they do not see
That the last thing they observe is the tree.