Trees have been an important influence on poetry, moving many poets inspirationally and emotionally. To the poet, a tree often metaphorically represents a source of spiritual growth and renewal.
Like humanity, the tree embodies in itself birth, life, death, regeneration and the seeds of rebirth. The seeds and the fruit of the tree are symbolic in many ways to the poet as metaphors for fertility. Additionally, the tree’s economic value in providing such things as lumber, fruits, olive oil, sap, rubber and important medicines. Trees are also vitally important to our environment and our life here on Earth.
Through a process called photosynthesis, trees take water and salts out of the air and lift them up to the leaves. The leaves then remove carbon dioxide (the major greenhouse gas) from the air to provide nourishment for the tree. Besides cleansing the air, moderating the greenhouse effect and renewing the oxygen supply, trees protect the land from erosion, provide protection from wind, solidify soils against heavy rain, muffle noise in the environment, harbor wildlife and provide forests as popular sources of recreation and entertainment.
Trees make our life more enjoyable as they inspire peace, serenity and tranquility in their presence. This has been confirmed many times by poets throughout history. Many poems depict trees, forests or a walk in the woods, both literally and figuratively.
Perhaps the most famous poem of them is “Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer. It’s a fabulous poem.
“The Divine Comedy,” by Dante, opens in the Inferno, with Dante himself lost among the trees in the dark woods, which he uses as a metaphor for where he is at that stage of his life. Dante writes, “Halfway through the journey we are living, I found myself deep in a darkened forest, for I had lost all trace of the straight path.”
Read Michael Hickey’s poem online at www.marconews.com/news/etc.
Michael Hickey is a local writer and poet who lives in Pelican Bay and Swampscott, Mass. His book, “Get Wisdom,” is published by Xlibris Div. Random House Publishing and is available at 1-888-795-4274 Ext. 822, at Xlibris.com, or your local bookstore. E-mail Mike Hickey at Mikehic@nii.net.
Being and Treeing
By Michael Hickey
Behold the tree
Rooted in the earth
Reaching for the heavens
Be! Like the tree.
Live undistinguished in the forest
Enjoy the sunshine
Let the wind move through you
Live a fruitful life
Then in due season