I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

20 April 2015

Half a Tree

Early morning mist begins to melt,
shrinking back from advancing light.
The remnant of a tree stands exposed.

This one has survived fire and logging, both.
Its remaining trunk, very shortened, is charred black.
Around it nothing else grows.

The ground is denuded, except for the waste
from old tree-fellings — a thick litter, dead.
Further back there are trees, at the new edge of the forest.

But this one stands alone. Not worth taking?
Yet, from the truncated trunk, two branches
reach out sideways; they even have leaves.

Is half a life better than none? In this case,
life is simply life, renewing itself, and whole:
a force unspent, with no half-measures.

The black spike of the damaged trunk
stands straight against the blue, lingering mist.
The branches curl and stretch, reaching up with their tendrils.

Beauty, in the eye of this beholder,
sanctifies the surrounding space, says a defiant no
to the loggers and wood chippers. Life re-asserts itself.

The April 19 prompt for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is the idea of 'half'. Of various pictures accompanying the prompt, this one seized my imagination.


  1. Ah, lovely, Rosemary--the half of that particular tree will have a great deal of leaves on one side and wild roses at its base. (It was hit by lightning.) Really a lovely poem. Thanks so much for participating in the prompt. k.

  2. I applaud "life reasserting itself" - as it always tries to do, no matter the devastation. Thank heavens!

  3. "a thick litter, dead." What happens to children/animals in a fire! And yet life returns. When will we have gone too far? Thanks for this powerful poem.

  4. You just have to admire the tree's resolve. Lovely poem

  5. This is so encouraging to me. There is so much in life that tears us down/ cuts us in half, but what is left is more than enough to regrow ourselves if we let it. Beautiful

  6. Love the optimism. I think that life will grow from within that branch... Maybe seedpods and some saplings, half a life is soon a whole forest.

  7. I have to agree with Björn on this one... There's a stoic kind of optimism in this, as in much of nature. Half a tree can live on and spread more trees about, but if we're not careful it won't be too long before that's not enough. Beautiful write!

  8. Beauty in the eye of a beholder never fails, is never more nor never less.

  9. Your apt descriptions of the tree's stature is revealing and beautiful, Rosemary. Great writing. :)

  10. You ask, Is "half a life better than none?" Then, remind us, " Life re-asserts itself." using the half dead tree as a metaphor. Wonderfully done.