Friday, December 4, 2015

On False Assumptions and the Secret Lives of Trees (and other Species)

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Please visit the amazing Buffy at Buffy's Blog for Roundup.

So, how's your December so far? Mine has been a little bit lovely, a little bit cold, a little bit delicious. I've been crafting... here is the new fabric garland I made for the tree (to replace the falling-apart garland we've used and loved so well for the past 15 years or so):
Pinking shears and fabric stash and twine.... voila!

I've got a few more projects in the queue, too! LOVE this time of year. Instead of crazy, I get quiet. AND I've been reading more Cybils poetry nominees.

Which brings me to the subject line of this post. Today I want to share a poem from the lovely collection AMAZING PLACES, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. As some of you know, I am rather fond of travel -- and of persona poems. I love how the tree in this poem views us humans and  how it's quick to set us straight:

Tree Speaks
by Nikki Grimes

Here they come again
those pale, rootless humans
squinting at the far country
where gorge meets sky.
How they gawk at me,
thinking I'm lonely!
Yes, I am one of only
a handful of trees
clinging to these
sun-striped cliffs
branches suspended
over a clear drop
more miles down
than the number of rings
circling my middle.
but lonely?
What do they know?
Daily, I listen to the echo
of the Colorado River rapids
bouncing off red-purple ridges
sculpted by water and time.
Each morning,
I witness the swoop and swirl
of hawks dancing in the air
we share.
Each evening,
I happily offer my limbs
as respite for majestic eagles.
Oh, yes,
this home of mine
stitched to the horizon
is Grand.
I will cling here forever,
waiting to be found
by those lost
in the endless beauty
of the Canyon.

(Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona)

These thoughts on loneliness remind me of a scene in a movie -- of course I can't remember the movie! -- but it was a younger couple watching an older couple in a restaurant. The older couple was sitting there, eating quietly, not talking. The younger man says, I just just don't want to end up like them, with nothing to say to each other anymore. His date says, no, maybe it's that they are so comfortable with one another and know each other so well that they don't need words.

It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? And who are we, the more observers, to say what's in another person's (or a tree's!) heart? Likely we are wrong about a lot of our assumptions... all the more reason to greet the world with openness and wonder, all eager to learn and imagine.

Today, that's how I want to walk around in the world. Won't you join me?


  1. A fabric garland! Wonderful idea, Irene. Mind if I borrow it? :-)

  2. Lovely thoughts, and Nikki's poem, too! I must get this book. I haven't seen it yet! Thanks, Irene:>)

  3. Love that fabric garland. I just found a pile of silk squares as I was searching for something else that were gifted to me a long time ago. Maybe? And I wrote about this book a week or so ago, loved it as I loved Amazing Faces, too. Perspective is certainly everything. Thanks for your thoughts and the creative idea, Irene.

  4. Your garland is lovely, Irene! Nikki's poem captures "the endless beauty/of the Canyon" so perfectly. And thank you for the reminder "to greet the world with openness and wonder," something I always strive to do!

  5. Wow--"Tree Speaks" is wonderful. I love that voice that scoffs at loneliness, that offers limbs for eagles.
    And your crafting garland--you are a woman of so many talents, Irene!

  6. Yes, I'll join you!
    Thanks for sharing Nikki's poem and this book, which I'm happy to have finally gotten for myself.
    Love your fabric garland, too - reminds me of some "window treatments" I made for our first little bungalow! I hung strings of cut-up strips at the top of the windows. (The colors were a bit more subtle..) ;0)

  7. First--apologies if I just hadn't noticed before; your quilted blog header is stunning! ..I admire your patience in making fabric garland--a totally new "invention" to me. Thanks for showing photos. Looks festively beautiful! Anything that speaks home and family at the holidays is a most welcomed blessing to know about. Hope your family knows how lucky they are that you gift them with the fruits of your craft-quietude. I love that juxtaposition of busy-ness and peaceful quiet. Good for you!.. Thank you, too, for sharing.Nikki Grimes' persona poem; surely the trees would have an answer to the philosophical question of whether a falling tree makes noise if there is no human in the forest to hear it fall. :) I'm with you on the "openness and wonder" perspective, which is why I am feeling so blessed to participate in the PF community of open-wonderers (and multi-faceted wanderers). I appreciate the latitude and support I've been given since Sept. to test my poetic wings. Always, too, I appreciate suggestions from all you pro's for improving my "baby poems." Thank you and God bless you!

  8. We just got a copy of Amazing Places at the library, and I'll be sharing a poem from the collection next week at Kurious Kitty. I see the book being a favorite for classroom use, don't you?

    The garland looks fabulous, and actually do-able is it doesn't involve sewing!

  9. I also just recently finished AMAZING PLACES, and Nikki's poem stood out for me as well, Irene. Now, about that fabric garland— LOVE! It might be time to reinvent our Christmas tree traditions.

  10. Irene, everyone is complimenting you on your fabric garland. I have a special comment also. You used pinking sheers which were one of my mother's favorite tools when designing. The garland lends a whimsical tone to your tree that I am sure will tell its own story about the lady who adorned it for the holidays. I too love Nikki Grimes' poem,"Tree Speaks". Lastly your line, "greet the world with openness and wonder, all eager to learn and imagine" sounds like the opening of an inspirational poem. If you write one let's place it in the next gallery.

  11. This fabric garland may well replace our popcorn and cranberry one this year. Thanks for sharing the Nikki Grimes poem - beautiful!

  12. I love that voice, both precarious in its hanging high and solid in its solitude. Nice choice--and it does rather get at how we might feel at this time of year.
    Your garland is lovely indeed.

    Also, thanks for your comments to my young poets--they love to know that there is an audience out there for their work!

  13. Oh, how I'd love to be that tree, rooted at the edge of the Grand Canyon!

  14. For a term my cousin worked hard as a fed. magistrate at the G.C, so the stories of people not seeing everything are legend when he tells tales.

    I like the way the cover of AMAZING PLACES selected by LBH looks at fast glance like a quilt.

    Smiling because your fabric garland is such fun. Glad your Holidaze are slow + easy.


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