thirteen ways of looking at trees

Image: The Art of Alison Jardine

thirteen ways of looking at trees

trees know
to bend with the wind
otherwise they will snap.

in the winter
trees seem to die
that is when
they send down roots
a lot happens
beneath the surface

some people are like trees
they reach out
provide food

like some trees
are invasive they
lesser life forms

like some people
without a lot of attention
nature provides
sometimes if they are weak
they need support
now and again
you have to prune
dead branches

if you plant a tree
you are responsible for it
make sure you choose
with care
it like adopting
a child or
a pet
due diligence is needed
before you commit

everyone should have
a special tree
to hold in memory
a place to go
when you are
in that way
a tree is like
a mother’s lap

once you put down roots
you will grow
if you become at one
with your place in life

learn from trees
even though they have differences
they are all trees
they belong together

trees are like families
they have to give way
to make room
for one another

even though trees
come in many different colors
they are still trees
contrast makes them
stand out

when you puncture
a tree’s trunk
with nails
it will bleed
when you puncture
another’s heart
with words
it too will bleed

in time trees
like people
will die
to make room
for new life.

I’m linking this poem to One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry:  The inspiration came from a prompt posted by Brian Miller on that same website for Friday Poetically. It is based on the art of Alison Jardine, the artist behind the image above. For some truly amazing art, visit her site at This poetry is also reminiscent of a form of poetry perfected by Wallace Stevens.

51 thoughts on “thirteen ways of looking at trees

  1. wolfsrosebud says:

    the does and don’ts of trees… and you are so right… so much like people


  2. Anna :o] says:

    A lovely thirteen!
    Anna :o]


  3. ds says:

    Love all 13 of your ways of looking at trees. Wonderfully done. Thank you.


  4. Gabriella says:

    I enjoyed your 13 ways to look at trees, particularly the 3rd one!


  5. coalkissed says:

    Beautiful…simply beautiful. I love how you compare trees, people, and life. Trees reveal much to us about the human nature. All we need to do is look and listen. Thank you for this poem.


  6. Truedessa says:

    I like the way you compared trees to people for in many ways they have similar traits and trees can be grounded or uprooted it all depends on nature. The 3rd and 7th speak volumes to me.


  7. A wonderful art work.
    I loved the sensitivity and truthfulness of your thirteen verses. Personally, I smiled at the reference of tree as a mother’s lap and of course the verse of puncturing of heart evokes a feeling of pain. Really good writing.


  8. Misky says:

    A lovely collection of wisdom, number 11 being my favourite, I think.


  9. A lot of wisdom here laid out for us. Missing word in vi.


  10. claudia says:

    very cool… and cool on using alison’s pic as well…
    a tree is like
    a mother’s lap… loved this esp. cause i remember how much comfort it was for me as a child to climb a special tree and just sit there and look at the world from another perspective…


  11. Mohana says:

    very true comparisons. trees, like us, have Souls.


  12. kkkkaty1 says:

    I really thing trees have souls…they feel and understand…they cry and laugh…you show all the important ways well


  13. for each stanza .. you could hear me say a little ah.. Victoria.. this how poetry should be.. little revelations.. golden nuggets of wisdom to learn about ourselves.. Great repost… I’m glad you did..


  14. kelvin s.m. says:

    …i like how you close the entire poem in the 13th… i think, that’s the true essence of life among every single beings…. so rich with beauty & sensibility… i enjoyed this… thank you… smiles…


  15. grapeling says:

    The voice in this is wonderful. For some reason I’m reminded of a child’s voice, assured, positive, intent on sharing what she’s learned ~


  16. Grace says:

    I love the different views of the trees as home, as mother, as member of a community & finally giving way for new life ~


  17. Abhra Pal says:

    Truly – there are so many ways to write about them – that I was lost thinking for a while…had I read yours before, I’d surely have adopted the same style 🙂

    Read your collection twice – still difficult to pick any that I like most. The ending perhaps couldn’t be better.


  18. I loved every one of these perspectives. Really lovely.


  19. brian miller says:

    wow now there is a flashback…ha…one of my prompts too…smiles…i love these thirteen views poems….a lot we can learn from trees…to bend…surviving….


  20. Rallentanda says:

    It would be good if trees could die a natural death…not much hope of that happening with the devil on two legs destroying everything in the way of its ambition !


  21. Mary says:

    Excellent! I enjoyed each and every perspective. A wonderful collection.


    • Bodhirose says:

      Ever since you first introduced me to these “Thirteen” poems based on Wallace Stevens’ poetry I’ve wanted to try one. I love what you come up with to describe trees and how they mimic our lives.


  22. […] thirteen ways of looking at trees ( […]


  23. […] thirteen ways of looking at trees ( […]


  24. […] thirteen ways of looking at trees ( […]


  25. dani says:



  26. Jamie Dedes says:

    A perfect homage to the awesome tree. Nice! 🙂


  27. ALIVE aLwaYs says:

    worthy inspiration drawn from trees, 13 wise poetic stanzas, I liked them a lot!!!


  28. Baishali says:

    wow such a unique poem … almost scientific and so well said.


  29. Becca Givens says:

    WOW … I really really like this piece … all 13 segments of it. Thank you for the timely spiritual message cloaked in the wonders of nature. 🙂


  30. in the winter
    trees seem to die
    that is when
    they send down roots
    a lot happens
    beneath the surface …

    this part I like the best!


  31. b_y says:

    Oh,yeah. I liked that image, too. Oddly, it made me think of roots, in spite of the sunny colors, so I’m glad for your viii.

    Enjoyed your 13


  32. Beautiful! I immediately thought of Shel Silverstein’s book: “The Giving Tree.”


  33. I have a GREAT love of trees. They are so well descibed here. I loved all of it but the first one, for me, say it all …. trees know to bend with the wind otherwise they will snap ….

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would all learn to bend with the wind?????



  34. trisha says:

    this is too beautiful!


  35. How nicely you have put together the anthromorphic charactericitics of trees or should I say the vegetative aspects of Man? Eventually, it is same source that runs through everything isn’t it? Even at the level of mundane matter, trees and man are made up the same elements….carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen etsc…may be a little mor e of this and a little less of that.


  36. Fiducia says:

    Comparison is so distinct here…my favorite was number 5!! each had a striking pause to it..beautiful!!


  37. […] thirteen ways of looking at trees ( […]


  38. knightsheart says:

    I like the way you put down roots on this comparison and grew it full cycle.


  39. I love trees. I am drawn to trees. Beautiful poem, Victoria. When my kids were little, I used to sing a little verse that made them laugh, or not. It went like this: God is good to me; He keeps me in a tree. They would roll their eyes and say, MOM, stop it. Blessings to you…


  40. Bodhirose says:

    I really enjoyed this immensely, Victoria.


  41. siggiofmaine says:

    I really like the 13 images of trees…you really thought about this relationship or built up the images over years… poignant and meaningful images. Thank you for the beauty of your words.
    ☮ Siggi in Downeast Maine, USA


  42. souldipper says:

    I certainly enjoyed these bids of appreciation for our beloved wooden friends.

    Man, trees have popped up in so many of my favourite blogs recently. Before this discovery, while I meditated against my Maple tree, I was asked to write about “her”. My response was along the lines of, “Woot?”

    I suspect it is yet another level of spiritual exposure being asked of me. Feels like exhibitionism! 🙂 I am not in a hurry.


  43. Really good piece. I enjoyed it from the first to last stanza. Very creative poem thanks for sharing:)


  44. brian says:

    ah a doubt tree-t then today…glad you played with alisons pic…in 13 ways no less…there is much we can get from sitting and pondering the tree…you pull some fine metaphors out of it…well played valerie


  45. Luke Prater says:

    really like tis one V. Love how it progresses, starting out a little formal and almost like a botanical guidebook, and as it develops, the simile/analogy of trees for human beings gets stronger (and more poetic). Excellence


  46. Anna says:

    So much we can learn from trees; I love trees too… you did a superb job of showing us 13 ways to look at (and learn from) a tree… lovely, I liked this piece.


  47. jgavinallan says:

    Victoria..”when you puncture another’s heart”…that caught my attention
    lovely description and relation to a life of a human


  48. Pat Hatt says:

    Wow from start to finish with trees and all different ways of looking at them with such great comparisions to life, nicely done.


Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s