Trees Need Not Walk The Earth

Celebrating National Poetry Month

April 2021, Canada celebrates the 23rd National Poetry Month.

Launched twenty-five years ago in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has been invaluable in igniting an awareness and appreciation of poetry.  In Canada, we joined the party in 1998 and are commemorating our 23rd National Poetry Month

This year, the theme rests on the word resilience, which has come to symbolize the spirit of the past year.

“What does it mean to be resilient? We meet resilience in every corner we’ve been backed into, every hardship that we endure. Resilience is geographical, spiritual, historical. It’s the fight against climate change, the inner battle with mental health, the outcry for human rights and an end to systemic racism. Resilience is the backbone of generations of trauma, the silence at the dinner table, the bow to culture’s violin. Resilience is the courage to start each day anew. This NPM 2021, we celebrate, reflect on and respect the resilience that has made us who we are.”  The League of Canadian Poets

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, the strength that builds as we move through our timeline.  Resilience demands our full concentration for we are asked to endure for a time, while anticipating a fresh day that carries renewed vigor.

Today, I happened to find my Father’s copy of “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau.  Flipping through the pages I came to the passage on page 286 which says, “However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names.  It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are the richest…Love your life, poor as it is.  You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor house…Things do not change, we change.”

Poetry allows us to overcome the poverty of the soul.

As we celebrate National Poetry Day, may we embrace the fullness of life, the joy of community, the hope that builds within a resilient heart.

Trees Need Not Walk the Earth

David Rosenthal

Trees need not walk the earth  
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
Where they stand.  
Here among the children of the sap
Is no pride of ancestry:  
A birch may wear no less the morning  
Than an oak.  
Here are no heirlooms  
Save those of loveliness, 
In which each tree  
Is kingly in its heritage of grace.  
Here is but beauty’s wisdom  
In which all trees are wise.  
Trees need not walk the earth 
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
In the rainbow—  
The sunlight—  
And the lilac-haunted rain;
And bread will come to them  
As beauty came:  
In the rainbow—  
In the sunlight—  
In the rain.

96 Thoughts

    1. Thank you Bette! I started to recite poetry a few years ago. I would say the words aloud to an empty room and hear the reverberations against the walls. I found that reciting poetry gave me a greater insight into the poet’s message. I started out with Edna St. Vincent Millay and now I have even attempted Shakespeare, which is intimidating. After all, it is Shakespeare!!!! Your visit and comments are very much appreciated.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Jean-Jacques – you have a marvelous way with words! I have come to your poem on page 38 of you new book, “Poetry in Brief – a day in a life -“ which I have in e-book form: “Heron – place to be – , which goes hand in hand with this post.
      “If I should find
      Heron’s place to go,
      Might ye not fix by him
      That we many know,
      A place for we to flee
      Tho I’d miss my city so,
      I the while may find be free!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Guess what I received in my mailbox yesterday!” Your new poetry book Poetry in Brief!! I LOVE the colours, the size. Marianne is a brilliant designer. The poetry/art connection is strong and vibrant. I am beyond excited, Jean-Jacques.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Rebecca, it is wonderful that there is a whole month to celebrate Poetry and I feel it is becoming more popular and appreciated for all its gifts. Resilience is indeed a timely topic and it is needed more than ever. At primary school the children were given an animal which had a characteristic attached to it and my son, much to his dismay, got resilience. A word I had to explain to him and although he suited many of the others it summed him up perfectly! To meet each day anew! Whatever the strifes of life! I love the poem you shared here, an anthem to trees and their being! Hope you’ve had a special month absorbed in the poetic form. Do you write poetry yourself? Hugs xx ❤️

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Resilience is a beautiful word, isn’t it, Annika? How wonderful that your son received this word at an early age. The word will come back to him when he need it most. My mother read poetry to me before she introduced stories. Of course, I wanted to hear the stories, but was soon entranced by the poetry I especially loved Robert Louis Stevenson – My Shadow – which starts out as:

      “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
      And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
      He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
      And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.”

      I think that I wrote poetry for my literature classes, but that was a very long time ago. Perhaps one day….

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I remember my dad reading this poem to me when I was very little. He liked to go the dramatic route with his reading on this one!

        I expect that you will write poetry one day, Rebecca. You will hear the call, and you won’t be able to resist it.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Shey for your visit and heartwarming comments! Earth offers us so much beauty as well as nourishment and shelter. Now, it is our turn to care for our earth – our very lives depend upon it. I am inspired by your commitment to live in peace with our world. Sending many hugs.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. A beautiful video, Rebecca. I so enjoyed your reading of this wonderful poem. So many poems have been inspired by trees and quite rightly so. They have been around since long before us humans and are absolutely essential for our survival. It’s no wonder that poets have so frequently lauded them.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you so very very much for your lovely comments, Sylvia. Trees exude a marvelous tranquility and I love sitting under their shade and reading a good book. Do you remember this poem? I think it was the first “tree” poem that I read:

      Trees By Alfred Joyce Kilmer (Joyce) (For Mrs. Henry Mills Alden)
      I think that I shall never see
      A poem lovely as a tree.

      A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
      Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

      A tree that looks at God all day,
      And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

      A tree that may in Summer wear
      A nest of robins in her hair;

      Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
      Who intimately lives with rain.

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

      Liked by 6 people

  3. Happy National Poetry Month 2021! This is a lovely poem, full of wisdom and reflection, and your video is thrilling with its season of trees. It seems the heritage of trees’ grace is revealed by its inner rings which are kept secret until their demise. While they prosper and stand, we can appreciate their gifts to us.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I have been looking back into public domain poetry, Mary Jo. It has been an extraordinary experience because the structure, the narratives and the words used are very much different than the poetry of today. Your comments about the heritage of trees’ grace reminded me of Treebeard, one of my favourite characters in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I especially appreciated that Tolkien gave Ents/Trees a language – Old Entish: “You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I LOVE that scene, Sally! Yes, the power of trees. Whenever I feel I am making a speedy, too quick, decision, I think of Treebeard’s exhortation: “But I spoke hastily. We must not be hasty. I have become too hot. I must cool myself and think; for it is easier to shout stop! than to do it.” I am thrilled that we connected, Sally. Sending hugs!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Dave!! These photos were taken 2 years ago in Park & Tilford Gardens during the spring time. It has been closed since Covid19 protocols have been in place. I remember the day clearly. It was early morning and I wanted to take these photos before the rain, which was in the forecast, arrived. I was the first one that walked through the gates when they opened. Did I mention to you that Park & Tilford gardens is on land that belonged to a distillery. The owner donated it to the city for the benefit of all. But I believe that there is something left in the soil from distillery days that makes the trees and plants thrive. Summer, autumn and winter photos were taken on Burnaby Mountain and the Vancouver Seawall.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. How wonderful to have experienced “Walden Pond”, Meg! My father introduced me to the Transcendental movement via Walden many years ago. It was in the late 60’s early 70’s when we were experience great change. It was my father’s way of reminding that me change has ever been with us and that critical thinking was essential.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. A profound and authentic insight, Julie. As I look back, I see my life as a kaleidoscope of varying colours, some that hold darkness and other with light. As I move forward in my timeline, I have a greater capacity to understand how that darkness has strengthened my resilience and opened me to fresh perspectives. Nature has a way of invigorating the spirit. Sending many hugs your way.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Martina for joining me under the trees and for your lovely comments. I have tried to find out information on David Rosenthal but to no avail. All I can find is that this poem was published by William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962). Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920. 1920. I am certain that David Rosenthal had other poems but they have been lost in the folds of history. Sending big hugs back your way.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The words of this gorgeous tree poem made me go into our garden, made me touch them and talk to them and be grateful that everything seems to be given to them and -us- thanks to earth, sunshine and rain! In German I have found, for example, a book by him about trees and poems (Bäume sind Gedichte, die die Erde an den Himmel schreibt/in English something like: Trees are poems, which earth writes to heaven)in which he asks his reader to have the courage to go his own path in life!! David Rosental was born in 1945 in N.Y.:)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, Martina, for your lovely comments. One of my favorite quotes about trees comes from Rainer Maria Rilke: “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.” I just located the rest of this poem:

        “Instead we entangle ourselves
        in knots of our own making
        and struggle, lonely and confused.

        So like children, we begin again…

        to fall,
        patiently to trust our heaviness.
        Even a bird has to do that
        before he can fly.”
        Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

        I found the David Rosenthal that was born in 1945, but the poem “Trees Need Not Walk The Earth” was published in 1920. Even the website did not have any information about David Rosenthal. He remains a mystery.


      3. This Rilke poem is absolutely beautiful, Rebecca, so that I have saved it, together with your other information, for special moments!
        Let’s hope that, at least today, we succeed in not entangling in knots of our own making!
        Many thanks and have a good day in this sense.:)

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe that is what we hear when we enter the forests – the whisper of leaves are really the sounds of communication. I have started a wonderful book – and need to go back to it again “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben. So many wonderful books, so little time. I am delighted that we have connected!!

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Thank you for celebrating Poetry Month with us. I appreciate the poem you shared and the beautiful video. The comments that have been added to the post show just how much Poetry is respected and loved. We can be thankful that we can share together by the new technology that is available in our world now! Again, thank you! !

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this poem and video. Thankfully, I have photos of Park & Tilford before the gates closed during Covid19. I am looking forward to a day when we can return to the gardens.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Rebecca, this post contains an excellent message about life. It is true that the more you have the worse your life looks during times of adversity. In some ways, the people of the first world have weathered the Covid-19 storm with far less resilience than the developing world which faces hardship all the time on a great scale. A lovely poem, thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have thinking a great deal of the “less is more” concept over the past years as I continue to cull my “things.” It is difficult to release items that have history – the cup that my grandmother used as a child, a gift from a childhood friend, my father’s worn notebook. I find attachment and comfort because I connect it to a story. But here is the dilemma I face: Will I forget the story because I no longer have need of, or never had need of, this thing. I agree with you, Robbie, there is freedom in less because it opens us up to more understanding of our place in humanity. As it happens, I just read an article this morning about adding and subtracting. It is rather long, but I think that you will be interested in this historical perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Teagan for your encouraging comments. I was trying to find out more about the poet but could not find out anything! I am certain that he had other poems, but alas they were not published and have been lost in the folds of history. Which is a reminder that indie publishing is essential, because we are add so much more our current story. By the way, your book covers are brilliant. Your cover Robbie’s new poetry book is fabulous. Sending hugs back on the wing.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Haha… Rebecca, my love for trees is great. So much so that I have an artificial ornamental ficus (fig) in my living room. Some are quite surprised to see it; some even think it’s real. I just love it and it holds the Christmas lights and baubles beautifully! Seriously though; trees are glorious.
    I love your reading and wondrous video.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Carolyn for your heartwarming comments. I see trees as our source of life – they give us oxygen and shade, food and companionship. Whenever I walk through a woodland or forest, I hear them talking. J.R.R. Tolkien says it best through Treebeard: “The world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air.” Many thanks for your visit. Sending hugs!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When we first moved to our home, Rebecca, we rented it as we didn’t know if we would stay in the area (Keith had purchased a business nearby). After a few years we knew we would stay. Finding a home became our next step. For those years renting I kept on about the lack of trees in our neighbours homes determined to plant trees as soon as we made our home choice.
        As it turned out we, after looking everywhere, realised we were living in our home and asked our landlord (one of Keith’s clients) if he wanted to sell. He did. One of the first things we did was to plant trees, bushes, some flowers and a veggie patch. Now we have one of the leafiest homes in our street.
        And all is well with the world…..

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh wow! I adore this poem. Rebecca, you have done it justice with your reading of it, and the beautiful photos you shared.
    Not much more to say than BEAUTIFUL! – hugs!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A wonderful celebration of trees Rebecca and we have just enjoyed the blossom on two of ours, so fleeting especially with 50mph winds this week, but I managed to get a photograph in time. Such wise words from Thoreau, the way we should all view our lives. The poem is beautiful and you certainly did it justice with your reading. Will share in a blogger daily.. have a wonderful week.. hugs Sally ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just downloaded and am enjoying your book “Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries – sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet.” I LOVE this read. This is going to be a great reading week, thanks to you! Sending many hugs along with my gratitude. Thoreau would enjoy this read!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This was breathtakingly beautiful! I love trees! 🙂 I could listen to this over and over again. Thank you for sharing your photographs and for your reading of this awesome poem. You create so much magic here…the trees through the seasons. I feel as if I opened a door and entered this wonderful place…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this poem, Linda. I have been looking back into public domain poetry these past few months and have found some amazing poets that I had never heard of before. I find reciting poetry to trees nourishes my spirit. Have a wonderful day! Thank you for adding beauty to mine.

      Liked by 1 person

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