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Cumbrian Beatitude by Joan Poulson

Am I oak tree or buzzard?
I must stop mumbling and speak out.
Blessed be the dancing hare
the song he leaps to
Helvellyn and Swirrel Edge
where I lost myself years back .
Blessed be our drumming t'other side
o' Skiddaw , wet fern sprouting
from amber-striated rock, the tweedy collage
of pine, Herdwick, Roman fort ,
the dull clack of slate on slate as we worked.
Blessed be the larch that speaks
the squat rock just being itself in Barrow Beck
cloud-swagged tops above Hardknott Pass
all people with small faces.
Blessed be green-ice lichen whispering
across the ribs of Seatoller Fell
the broad-backed hedge on the lane we tramped
stones that see, the purple splitterings
of Keskadale Beck.
Blessed be.
I feel change my leaves russet dry
and I wait
all things change
I have everything I have nothing
I wait
blessed be.


I am one leaf,

from one twig, one branch, one tree.

When was I more beautiful?

At no time.

You say there was a time

before I was a leaf

but what do I know of that?

You say there will be times

after I have ceased to be a leaf

but what can I know of them?

If you like, I can tell you stories:

of the swelling of the russet bud,

of springing into green fullness,

of hanging in the curled heat of midsummer,

of living within the winds in fury

and the dark, plummeting rains;

of withering, of falling,

and of touching the earth;

and still

all the stories begin and end here,

where you’re asking me

how to land more deeply in your heart!

What can a fallen leaf know of that?

                                             (to All You Fallen Leaves)

© Wadiz

See 'how to help' page to purchase Wadiz's book of poems with a donation to Trees for Health

Quilt-like Night by Jason Watts

Night, like a quilt embroidered with birch

Trees, half-lit ¹til the moon brims out from behind

Cloud, against whose storm trees flail feminine

Forms, as the wind lifts one with the full

Moon, and my pupil, a black counter

Balance to the lunar disc, weighs the trees¹

Crowns and the silver of light: the polar

Twins bouy each other, they rise together

Shiver and bubble my brain and heart, a double

Burst that bristles within the vault of skin.
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


What do trees have to do with peace?

Thirty years ago, in the country of Kenya,
90% of the forest had been chopped down.
Without trees to hold the topsoil in place,
the land became like a desert.

When the women and girls would go in search
of firewood in order to prepare the meals,
they would have to spend hours and hours
looking for what few branches remained.

A woman named Wangari
watched all of this happening.
She decided that there must be a way
to take better care of the land and
take better care of the women and girls.

So she planted a tree.
And then she planted another.
She wanted to plant thousands of trees,
but she realized that it would take a very
long time if she was the only one doing it.
So she taught the women who were looking
for firewood to plant trees, and they were paid
a small amount for each sapling they grew.

Soon she organized women all over the country
to plant trees, and a movement took hold. It was
called the Green Belt Movement, and with each
passing year, more and more trees covered the land.

But something else was happening
as the women planted those trees.
Something else besides those trees was taking root.
The women began to have confidence in themselves.
They began to see that they could make a difference.
They began to see that they were capable of many
things, and that they were equal to the men.
They began to recognize that they were deserving
of being treated with respect and dignity.

Changes like these were threatening to some.
The president of the country didn't like any of this.
So police were sent to intimidate and beat Wangari
for planting trees, and for planting ideas of equality
and democracy in people's heads, especially in women's.
She was accused of "subversion" and arrested many times.

Once, while Wangari was trying to plant trees, she was
clubbed by guards hired by developers who wanted
the lands cleared. She was hospitalized with head injuries.
But she survived, and it only made her realize that she
was on the right path.

For almost thirty years, she was threatened physically,
and she was often made fun of in the press. But she
didn't flinch. She only had to look in the eyes of her
three children, and in the eyes of the thousands of
women and girls who were blossoming right along
with the trees, and she found the strength to continue.

And that is how it came to be that 30 million trees
have been planted in Africa, one tree at a time.
The landscapes--both the external one of the land
and the internal one of the people--have been transformed.

In 2002, the people of Kenya held a democratic
election, and the president who opposed Wangari and
her Green Belt Movement is no longer in office.
And Wangari is now Kenya's
Assistant Minister for the Environment.

She is 65 years old,
and this year she planted one more tree
in celebration and thanksgiving
for being given a very great honor:

Wangari Maathai has been awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the first
African woman to receive this award.

After she was notified, she gave a speech entitled,
"What Do Trees Have To Do With Peace?"
She pointed out how most wars are fought
over limited natural resources, such as oil, land,
coal or diamonds. She called for an end to
corporate greed, and for leaders to build more
just societies. She added:

"Our recent experience in Kenya gives hope
to all who have been struggling for a better future.
It shows it is possible to bring about positive change,
and still do it peacefully. All it takes is courage and
perseverance, and a belief that positive change is possible.
That is why the slogan for our campaign was 'It is Possible!'"

"On behalf of all African women, I want to express
my profound appreciation for this honour,
which will serve to encourage women in Kenya,
in Africa, and around the world to raise their
voices and not to be deterred."

"When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of
peace and seeds of hope. We also secure the future
for our children. I call on those around the world
to celebrate by planting a tree wherever you are."

As she received the Nobel Peace Prize this week
in Oslo, she invited us all to get involved:

"Today we are faced with a challenge
that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that
humanity stops threatening its life-support system.
We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds
and in the process heal our own."


Oak, Holly, Birch or Pine

all are wonderous all sublime

Rooted in the earth waving to the sky

such stories they may tell by and by

Sensing changing seasons years and decades

never asking favour nor wanting time delayed

Let us keep on planting assisting nature in her task

do we do the right thing do we need to ask

Trees for the future helping soil and helping soul

please just keep on digging and planting up each hole

Favourite Christmas Tree by Joan Poulson
We bought a tree with roots
that we could plant outside after Christmas
and, in it's green pine branches, found
a tiny domed nest.
'It must have been built in spring
by a wren,' Mum said.
The feathers were still soft.
Little twigs and bits of moss  
were twined, woven so beautifully
I didn't want to cover it with lights or take it inside
away from other growing things.
'Let's plant it now!' I cried.
'Here, in our garden and every year
we'll cover it with nuts and fat.....
On Christmas Eve we'll put one star on top
so all the birds will come to feast,
welcoming Christmas Day.
And at midnight, when animals can speak
the birds will say:
Share with us, we have enough for all.'
That night, small rustlings woke me, very late,
and through the window I saw white birds
like snowflakes, fluttering everywhere,
and Earth chuckled,
warm beneath her coverlet of animals......
The tree shone diamond-bright, lit with icicles  -
and jay and jackdaw, robin, song-thrush, finch,
birds of every sort pulled at fresh sweet nuts
and seeds we'd hung. And some they dropped  
to make a ground-spread feast.
Then a wren bobbed from the branches  -
soft brown feathers aglow, touched with gold
and on the tree three stars appeared
lighting the night
lighting everything I could see
and everything, everywhere.....
in me.
Emancipation Proclamation Whereas it minds its own business & lives in its one place so faithfully & its trunk supports us when we lean against it & its branches remind us of how we think Whereas its keeps no bank account but hoards carbon & does not discriminate between starlings and robins & provides free housing for insects & squirrels & lifts its heartwood grave into the air Whereas it holds our firmament in place & writes underground gospel with its roots & whispers us oxygen with its leaves & may not survive its new climate of ultraviolet We the people for ourselves & our children necessarily proclaim this tree free from commerce & belonging to it self as long as it & we shall live.

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