Remembering The Tree

remembering the tree


On the last day of Earth,

the poet said he’d plant a palm.

And on this day,

when our world of tolerance

and truth seems to cease,


I go outside and stare

at the one on our front lawn.

Sunlit and winged, its body a breastplate

of bark strewn with dust and seed, its breath

swabbed with salt swept in

from the Pacific


the tree stares back, transfigured (perhaps)

into an archangel — not here

to battle & claim triumph


but to hand back

our power to breathe, witness

a moment of beauty.


And out of that moment

other moments grow —

past and present.


Rains drenched the desert

in green this winter, older


Joshua trees

nursed the younger

so they could bloom, stretch

further toward the light,


and today a raven

stands on the side view mirror

of my car, guarding


a perspective

on what is coming

from behind, or more intensely,


what’s been side lined

along the curb: catkins, blossoms

and tinier birds


curiously sorting

through the first scatterings

of  Spring.


Note –– The late and brilliant  poet,  W.S. Merwin, said in his poems and interviews, that on the last day of the world, he would plant a tree; and most likely it would be a palm. Merwin spent his last years on a Hawaiian island trying to restore the soil and palm trees of an old sugar cane farm/plantation. He was fascinated by the diverse varieties of this tree and become ardently dedicated to preserving a green environment. And traditionally, the palm has symbolized peace, loyalty. victory and eternal life. It is definitely a tree worth going to and remembering in troubling times when our world seems to be burning from both climatic an political forces.



  1. Wendy,

    You set the tone with a deft hand and a heart full of soul.

    I felt a frisson of excitement tickle my skin at the mention
    of the raven, a harbinger of prophecy. The closing stanza
    is captivating, so, too, the Joshua trees nurturing the younger
    ones, ‘breath/ swabbed with salt swept in/from the Pacific —’

    all of it. It stirs all the senses.


  2. I love this. It takes me back to 8 acres in the country, where we lived from when I was in eighth grade through my second year in college. In my case, the tree was a towering walnut, straight as a telephone pole and much taller. It stood alone in an otherwise open field, a proud and solitary Sentinel. We had many other trees – an entire woods, in fact – but that one was special.


  3. Dear Sarah

    Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts regarding this poem!! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
    As always, you continue to inspire and encourage me with your support and interest in my work. It means so much!

    Hi Michael

    Thank you for sharing your personal impressions about this poem and that lovely walnut tree. I think you may have a poem of your own starting there. Trees are very special and I believe have natural wisdom and purpose in our lives and that of the landscape.

    My Best to you both and many thanks!


  4. the tree stares back, transfigured (perhaps)

    into an archangel — not here

    to battle & claim triumph
    but to hand back

    our power to breathe, witness

    love these lines especially. As always you give your reader matters to think about.


  5. Thanks so much Deb!

    I am glad you enjoyed those lines , in particular. Was hoping they would work and apparently I think they did. Also appreciate the time you have taken to read and contemplate this poem.

    Take care


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