Tag Archives: trees

Bur Oak


Sorry I haven’t been too responsive lately. Things have gotten busy!



Today two friends and I cycled out to the Bur Oak

Locally celebrated as the oldest tree around.

We rested in its shade



A frail old man with a cane arrived

Guided by a woman and a little boy.

It was evident his family adored him.

They spoke eagerly about what to show him next.

The old man saw my friend painting and was pleased.

He had gone to art school.

He was very honorable, soft spoken, knowledgeable and kind.

After they left,

Three carfuls of Chinese students showed up.

Amidst the clamor one of them said, without irony,

“It’s so peaceful!”

We got to talking.

Before we knew it

A beautiful slight thirty something woman

Was leading us all in a Tai Chi exercise.

She taught us Chinese words as we followed her movements.

Four motorcyclists arrived

In matching Harley Davidson jackets.

They found a spot amongst the roots

And made brash, cheerful gossip.


Of these very different people

Every one was here to see the tree.

Some casually leaned against it.

Some circled it.

Some squealed for a picture with it.

Some hugged it.

Some climbed among its roots.

Some solemnly sat and revered it.


How many people

Has this tree seen come and go?

What does time even mean

To something so ancient?

For most of its life

It had little significance

Growing up among peers.

Time passed

And all the trees around it fell.

Why did it remain standing?

A farmer’s passing fancy?

A fluke?

Or did it have value even then to someone

Beyond all other trees?


Now it takes our human adoration

Our traffic

Our abuse

All our attentions, for better or worse

And still it stands



Takes sun

Makes acorns



Trees know something we don’t know.

We play at their ankles like children

Drawn to what they have

But never understanding why.

















I didn’t write anything last night! Narcolepsy won.

So here is another of my old poems.



I remember the giant old tree

In the courtyard of Trinity college

In Dublin.

It was all gnarls and moss.

It drank hundreds of gallons of water

Which would otherwise have ruined the college’s foundations.

It was clearly alive

A sage of its kind

With character all its own.

I can see how the Britons might fancy

Their trees to have spirits

If they have such trees as that.


American trees, Missouri trees especially, are




Weak rooted.

American trees don’t know frost or hardship.

They know small things

And think them large.

American trees are children.

They are flexible and joyous and green

And they shake their leaves in laughter

At their wise older cousins.

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