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Sunday, November 23, 2014


The oak tree overhanging the driveway entrance here at our house (Click directly on the image to enlarge it):

I took this photograph in October — when leaves were still on the tree.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "The Oak":
Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;

Then; and then
Gold again.

All his leaves
Fall'n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough
Naked strength.


  1. and it's a color shot; not easy to see except for the lovely pale blue at the right...nice, AOW.
    I dug out a stanza from one of my old poems that fits this, I think:

    Skeletal and black,
    trees are the only things I know
    that need less cover
    against the cold.

  2. ... Rhymes are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    ~ Joyce Kilmer

  3. Oft in the night
    I see the shadows of the trees
    On my bare chamber walls ––

    Silhouettes dancing ––
    Dancing in strange and secret rhythm ––
    To the restless music of the Wind.

    ~ FreeThinke (1961)

    1. FT,
      That one goes so well with the photo! Thank you!

  4. ______ BIRCHES _____

    When I see birches bend to left and right
    Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
    I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
    But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
    As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
    Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
    You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
    They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
    And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
    So low for long, they never right themselves:
    You may see their trunks arching in the woods
    Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
    Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
    Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
    But I was going to say when Truth broke in
    With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
    I should prefer to have some boy bend them
    As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
    Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
    Whose only play was what he found himself,
    Summer or winter, and could play alone.
    One by one he subdued his father's trees
    By riding them down over and over again
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left
    For him to conquer. He learned all there was
    To learn about not launching out too soon
    And so not carrying the tree away
    Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
    To the top branches, climbing carefully
    With the same pains you use to fill a cup
    Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
    Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
    Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
    So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
    And so I dream of going back to be.
    It's when I'm weary of considerations,
    And life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig's having lashed across it open.
    I'd like to get away from earth awhile
    And then come back to it and begin over.
    May no fate willfully misunderstand me
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
    Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
    I don't know where it's likely to go better.
    I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
    And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
    Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
    But dipped its top and set me down again.
    That would be good both going and coming back.
    One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

    ~ Robert Frost (1874-1963)

  5. ... As I looked toward Birnam, anon me thought,
    The wood began to move ...

    ~ Shakespeare - Macbeth

    I can never think of that short phrase without getting goose bumps.

  6. Beautiful shot, AOW. I never get tired of taking pictures of trees.

  7. Oh, I love this perspective. Reminds me of sitting under a good shade tree. Thanks for the nudge, AOW. :-)

    1. Jen,
      I don't take many photos worthy of posting on the web.

    2. You shold trust your eye more, AOW.
      It's better developed than you think.

  8. Another tree-related favorite from childhood:

    How would you like to go up in a swing,
    Up in the air so blue?
    Oh, I do think it's the pleasantest thing
    Ever a child can do!

    Up in the air and over the wall,
    Till I can see so wide,
    Rivers and trees and cattle and all
    Over the countryside

    Till I look down on the garden green,
    Down on the roof so brown
    Up in the air I go flying again,
    Up in the air and down!

    ~ Robert Louis Stevenson - A Child's Garden of Verses

  9. hey AOW! HAPPY THANKSGIVING my friend..hugss!!:)

  10. FT,
    So glad that you stopped by to add more verse!

    Frost's "Birches" is a classic, and we always discuss that poem in American Literature class. So much in there!

  11. The leaves will fall.

    Something about raking leaves. I find it very peaceful and calming.
    Nothing like clearing snow.

  12. What fun...a "Poetry Off!" (like a cook off?!)

    lines from another of mine which Jen reminded me off with her comment:

    "Through the pattern of leaves
    shimmering above me,
    the 2 o'clock sun
    made my eyelids
    a burnt orange kaleidoscope,
    and maple leaf boats floated
    in a harbor full of leaves
    against the heavy paperblue sky above me"

    nothing like laying with a horsehair field of grass on your back and looking up through a tree's leaves.

    1. Z,
      Thank you so much for your contributions to this thread. I love original verse! I'm a terrible poet myself.

    2. am putting together a kind of anthology for Christmas presents...I can't believe how much I used to write as I find more and more in my computer files; I don't anymore at all, just cleaning my old stuff up to print.
      THanks, AOW.....
      thanks also for sharing your photo!

  13. _______ The Linden Tree _______

    Before the city walls there is a well
A Linden-tree stands there
Many times I've sought its shade
A place of rest and pleasant dreams


When dreaming there I carved

    Some words of love upon the bark
Both joy and sorrow

    Drew me to that shady spot


But today I must wander
Through this blackest night
In darkness I passed this tree
But couldn't bear to look 

    I heard the branches rustle
As if they spoke to me
Come to me my old friend
Find peace with me


Cruel winds were blowing

    Coldly cutting my face
My hat was blown behind me

    I quickly sped on my way

I'm now many miles distant
From that dear old Linden-tree
But I still hear it whisper

    "Come -- find peace with me."

    ~ Wilhelm Mueller (English translation)

    From Winterreise (Winter Journey)

    Hear it sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau


  14. There's probably little bugs, that live under that tree, and that view of the sky is the only one they ever know.


  15. What a lovely last hurrah of brilliance your tree must be when you come home in the late fall. I love looking out on my own orange, banana and palm trees. But it's just not the same majesty or milestone of the season.

  16. ___ SNOW HAIKU ___

    Fresh snow at sunset
    Trees glistening quietly
    In pink and copper tones.

    Snow covered branches
    Thaw, then turn to crystal lace
    Gleaming in sun light.

    Melting on the ground
    As snow deserts the branches
    Black twigs claw the sky.

    ~ FT (11/23/14)

  17. _____ The Wind and the Leaves _____

    Come, little leaves, said the wind one day,
    Over the meadows with me and play.
    Put on your dresses of scarlet and gold,
    Summer is gone and the wind grows cold.

    As soon as the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,
    Down they came fluttering one and all;
    Over the brown fields they danced and flew
    Singing the soft little sings they knew.

    Crickets, good bye we’ve been friends so long.
    Little ones, sing us your farewell song;
    Say you are sorry to see us go.
    Ah! You will miss us, right well we know.

    Dear little lambs, in your fleecy fold
    Mother will keep you from harm and cold;
    Fondly we’ve watched you in vale and glade
    Say, you will dream of our loving shade/

    Dancing and whirling, the little leaves went:

    Winter had called them, and they were content.
Soon fast asleep in their earthly beds,

    The snow laid a coverlet over their heads.

    ~ Anonymous

    My mother used to sing this to me when I was a small boy. As far as i knew, she was the only one who knew it, and then one day -- decades later -- it appeared as the background to a hand-cut silhouette of Christopher Robin playing amidst falling leaves one of my clients gave me out of gratitude for a series of ads I'd created for her Arts & Crafts shop.

    It was as though my mother. who ad died of a sudden heart attack ten years earlier were giving me her blessing from beyond the grave. Probably the nicest gift I've ever received.

    1. FT,
      My mother used to sing this to me...

      My mother and grandmother sang the song to me, too. I wonder if the tune was the same as the version you heard. This is the tune that my mother and grandmother used.


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