The Unfettered Canticle of Trees, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” John Muir, Our National Parks



Still for a moment the church bells
pealing the ancient canonical hours.
Still the lyric call of the muezzin.
Silence the Shacharit, the Mincha, the Arvit.
Stay the wheels and the flying flags.
Let nature’s prayer alone reverberate
in the unfettered canticle of trees.

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” John Muir (1838-1914), Scottish-American naturalist, environmental activist, and author

© 2014, poem and photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

I wrote this poem for National Wilderness Week in 2014. Around here (Northern California), we have forests of sturdy redwood that bring joy to eyes, heart and spirit.  As you might suspect from my poem, the redwood forests make me feel as though I’m in a cathedral. They’re a religious experience. I’m wondering today what you feel like in the wilderness: awed, intimidated, comforted, inspired? Perhaps you’ve never been and you have speculations to share. Perhaps you went camping and it was a hugely enjoyable adventure; or, maybe it camping was the worst decision you’ve ever made. Tell us about your thoughts and adventures in a poem or poems.

Share your poem/s on theme or a link to it/them in the comments section below.

All poems on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com in order to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, August 27 at 8 p.m. Pacific.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, sharing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning nonjudgemental place to connect.


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

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14 thoughts on “The Unfettered Canticle of Trees, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Such beauty expressed. Thank you all!

    Whose

    Once again
    we lay a claim
    on land
    not ours

    chop down
    build up
    less natural
    habitation

    wildlife wanders in
    refusing to give up
    its native lands

    to secluded cabins
    in awe filled
    fairy forests

    bears feast on
    chokecherries
    and bird feeders

    share trashed
    leftovers
    with foxes,
    raccoons

    toms, hens and chicks
    claim grasses
    and trees
    for homes

    deer leave
    calling cards
    thank you for
    the flowers

    mountain lions
    prowling
    remind all
    who is king

    I am grateful,
    they share the space.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To the river

    This is where we came, here, to the river
    for the first time, along the rutted path,
    cowslips, bluebells crowding at its edge; past
    the dandelion meadow, its pale-white
    quilt of puffballs waiting to be blown and cast.

    Together to the river to explore
    vigorous and sinuous, limpid rills
    and ripples,the glistening flow of water.
    Beneath the cobalt sky, each moment
    folding into itself the heat,intense
    upon our faces, the stones’ cool splash and spray,
    shouts and birdsong; each uplifted stone setting
    free the grains of memory,where we were
    one time held, entranced, imagination’s
    captives in the bubble of our dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my fourth response:

    Extracts from ‘Woodbrains, woodbrides, woodwives’

    Grovemind, groovemind

    synaptic branches
    neuron tipped limbs
    sacred grove recovery

    oakbrain opens doors in my head
    ashbrain spears my ideas
    elmbrain plays the fey

    electric gust moves limbs
    inside my head

    barkskin neural net
    circumnavigates damage
    fruited hemispheres
    replenish, restore, reimagine

    senses water roots
    grove in my head
    grooves in my head

    between oaklimbs
    between ashlimbs…

    …Whispering forest

    walk among us, as us

    known as oakman
    known as birchwoman
    known as elmlad
    known as ashlass

    Each one gentle,
    one is strong
    one elegant
    all older than they look

    their voices not listened to
    “I talk to the tree”
    “Hug a tree”
    “I am a tree”
    seen as signs of waywardness
    to be laughed at,
    pilloried and scorned.

    later they will scream
    when cut down
    or have a limb amputated

    we ought to listen.

    (From “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, Alien Buddha Press, 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my third response:

    This Brash and Burn

    1. To Burn Brash

    Sat back barked.
    Small insects crawl
    down tree stretched above
    inhabit hair
    worn gloves
    bruised brashed branches

    Breathe wet peat,
    damp soil, leaf decay,
    autumn dead leaf dance,
    spring bluebell wend
    summer sacred stainglass
    canopy sunshaft play
    winter heavesnow clear paths

    Sat back barked
    canopy leaf horizon
    floats shimmers

    Calm

    2. Our Wombwell Boxed

    Lift small boxes wooden lid smell
    broadleaved woodland
    before rail/road
    Press plastic button hear
    Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Woodpeckers,
    before rail/road.

    Press plastic button watch
    Videowalk ancient Beech, Oak, Birch
    before rail/road.

    Electronic ringtone.

    We would like to advise all visitors
    The museum is closing soon.
    Please exit through main door.
    We hope you have enjoyed your visit.
    Please come again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my second response:

    Oaksong

    oaksongs

    How can you be in two places
    at once? I asked. A Christian
    friend replied ” You can have
    one foot inside the door
    and the other foot outside.”

    You would be forever
    on the threshold, neither
    one nor the other, or both.
    A fence sitter, neither
    Summer or Winter
    God or Man.

    Would you sacrifice the other
    to be wholly another? To step
    in and close the door
    shut out the weather
    from the other side.

    Are you coming in or what?
    Your letting in a right breeze?
    Put wood in the hole.
    Decide whether your in or out!

    *******
    I watch the traffic lights
    consider a walk this way or
    a green man allows me
    to avoid bloodied bone

    my mouth and ears
    thresholds and doors
    full of oaklimbs and leaves

    reborn I stretch down
    to deep dark moist

    I stretch up to cloudlight
    barkskin palmtouched
    I let others breathe
    shelter and endure

    *******

    moors were once forests
    national parks heavy industrial
    this oak headland a pitsite

    lads snap off livelimbs
    anarchic coppicing
    black dogshitbags sway
    on limbs left alone

    don’t visit in a storm
    oaks are lightningtrees
    people can be oaks

    oakgroves of druids
    duir means a door
    exit and entrance

    raw open wounds of sacrifice
    still bleed sap

    this hand has molded
    a garden out of wildlife
    words out of nonsense

    she used to say “when
    one door closes
    another opens”

    (From “Stubborn Sod”, forthcoming from Alien Buddha Press, 2018)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    Thorns

    pale and too weak to move
    cough your guts over
    edge of your bed
    in faint light from the door
    two trees
    walk towards you

    one black, the other white

    black tree becomes a pair of eyes
    you inhale smoke drifting up from a fire
    sharp fruit fragrance
    spiky, dark, sinewy, stiff bark,
    oval leaves with a serrated margin

    move
    quickly over your body
    touches points here and there,
    painful thorns nick out bubbles
    of your blood
    it mutters strange
    under its breath
    with a low, crackling voice.
    The night grows old,
    dawn approaches
    dissolves into

    the white tree
    with long bright hair,
    lays a cool gentle hand on your brow,
    mutters with a sweet bell-like voice
    your sight sharpens
    until the white tree,
    becomes a woman,
    your pain eases.  She sweeps
    brown-grey, knotted
    and fissured skin,
    slender and brown limbs
    covered in thorns
    that do not hurt
    up and down
    your body, touches same places
    as the black tree
    pain vanishes
    refreshed
    into easy, restful sleep

    (From ‘The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Patricia’s Garden

    The tall oak tree…a sentinel
    Standing guard over the small yard
    Wards off invasions of mayhem
    Keeping peace in the inner sanctum

    Painted rocks surround pathways
    Leading to artistic creativity
    While small tables and chairs
    In camaraderie congregate together

    The mums sing colors across the garden
    Yellow and lavender tones harmonize
    Brilliant red petals bellow magnificence
    In a perennial summer performance

    Peace and compassion frolic in fun
    Chasing joy between the evergreens
    The sun’s reflection shimmers off the muraled wall
    As happiness dances slowly towards the impending fall.

    The tall oak tree…a sentinel
    Standing guard over the small yard
    Wards off invasions of mayhem
    Keeping peace in the inner sanctum

    Liked by 1 person

  8. .the new arrival.

    hear that , crashing in the old wood, trees fall and die.

    seems time stands still, nothing moves . happening.

    older times are done, quiet now, seamlessly it will start

    again.

    one word, one sound, then blindly we will crash into the wild woods

    again.

    i met a man who did not know, had just arrived.

    we may learn in time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks Jamie. First Response.

    ..wild wood..

    photograph the trees. notice the wild wood

    early while walking, imagine it may

    be mine. to care for , to let be. it could.

    it is for sale. new sign on the gate, today

    the charcoal burner . he is a woods man

    smoke rises grey. price is mentioned . plenty.

    I think on his words, the idea, owning land,

    crashing back into the wild wood. empty

    headed. it is good to be quiet, alone

    away from their thickening throng , the dread .

    soft voices. smoke rises slow, ashes. old bone.

    dust and dust , by dust we bury the dead.

    he will split the wood. they may come and buy,

    yet in my head the wild wood will be mine.

    sbm.

    Liked by 1 person

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