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Sunday 25 March 2012

Homo Arboreal

Written for dVerse  Poets' Pub Patterns, Pictures and Poems.

A race lives here,
folk timber boned
and cotyledon skinned,
who were no different once
from you and I.

We thought they had died out
among the beech, the rowan
and the ash. Not so,
survivors all,
they had preserved their genes
by breeding with the trees.

Unless they know you well,
you will not meet them. At any
sight or sound they freeze,
become the trees they are.
Pure root and branch.

Those whom they trust
may see them walking tall,
part tree, part man -
part god, as I believe,
so tall and stately,
sturdy and in-grain,
and not above
a sacrifice or two -
or so I've heard.

Like as not,
it's all you'll see of them,
a wisp of smoke -
and not a sign where from.


The image I have posted previously, one of my ancient digital doodles series. I thought I would recycle it for the occasion.


Tabor said...

Nice and magical. I think there are the beginnings of a science fiction social novel here.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Browsing through my reader Dave when I glanced at the beginnings of your wonderful words and had to come here!

Love it! Brilliant!

Anna :o]

Claudia said...

nice..this has a lord of the ring feeling..i should print and read this in the forest or maybe to the trees in the forest...and then see what happens...smiles..i like..

Brian Miller said...

fantastical write....breeding with the trees on some level makes sense esp with their longevity....and now that claudia says it it does have an LOTR feel...those tree guys...

Laurie Kolp said...

Love this, David... and I agree with all the above.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Living tree stories have roots deep( pun not intended) in Greek and Northern mythology so good to see them continue

Daydreamertoo said...

Magical. I'm with you on trees being so alive, most of us just take them all for granted without ever appreciating how very much alive they are.
Spooky, mystical, lovely.

Mary said...

Part tree, part man, part god. What a wonderful creation this would be.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. K.

Grace said...

Creative response...I like the idea of part man and trees and god ~

Happy spring day to you ~

Carl said...

Wonderful. they remind me of the ents (tree herders) in Tolkien.

Unknown said...

I really like the mythical quality of this. You make the beings very real in their union with the trees. The tone is matter of fact which heightens the effect of the myth, giving us the sense that this is real if only we knew. In on the secret that myths often open doors for to other worlds.

A Cuban In London said...

First of all, thanks for the image. Until I read the source of it, I was spooked by it. Secondly, the poem carries the type of verse that demands it be recited, read aloud, spoken to an audience. The last line is still haunting me: "a wisp of smoke - and not a sign where from." What a beauty! Many thanks. That was a truly enjoyable, not least because it was accompanied by an equally superb photo.

Greetings from London.

Ygraine said...

Never again will I feel the same when walking through a forest!
Or perhaps I should say I'll look more intently.
Wonderfully thought provoking, Dave :)

Gerry Snape said...

this is so Tolkien or Lewis...I love the thought of trees walking around and interacting! Great lines Dave. Thankyou.

hedgewitch said...

Magical, David. I would like to think that any of us could do that someday--much more fun than dying and going off to sit on a cloud and strum a harp.

James Rainsford said...

What an intriguing image, skilfully married to an equally intriguing poem. Thanks for sharing.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

This is certainly one of your best Dave. So neat and strong. The final two lines "seal up" the poem in its sparkling air with the splendid "wisp of smoke".
For those who can see.

ds said...

Ah...Tolkien, and Robert Graves--and you. It is all you. "Cotyledon skinned" the beech, rowan, and ash. That wonderful lore. Yes, I'd like to imagine them that way, too. Tall, strong, invinceable. Wonderful stuff. Thank you.

LR Photography said...

Very good Dave!

Windsmoke. said...

I to am reminded of Tolkein :-).

Victoria said...

Enjoy the mythological references in this one, Dave. A bit eerie, opening us to unheard of realities.

Anonymous said...

i like the setting you describe

Beachanny said...

I had an arborist here this week. He said in conversation that trees are the closest life-like living thing to men. For the most part we live to the same ages, have a similar circulatory system, and react the same way to infections, they have allergies and suffer much the same as we do. I like to think you already knew this as you devised a poem that I already believed.

haricot said...

I've heard of someone who can talk with plants and trees. I believe it, and actually I feel like I live with an oak in my garden.
Thank you for your words.

Dave King said...

Thanks to all
Regretfully, I'm on a tight schedult today. I shall endeavour to get round to you all, but that may be tomorrow.

Now that HAS put a thought in my head. Thanks.

Thank you SO much for your kind and generous comment. It does mean a lot.

I like your thinking. I just might try! Thanks.

Thanks for this. I hadn't noticed it myself, but I'm quite happy to take your combined assurances!

Great to hear you say so.

A warm welcome to my blog and than you so much for your kind comment.

Lovely to hear your thoughts. Thank you for saying.

Hopefully, yes. Thank you for the thought.

Thanks a lot.

Thank you and a great day for you.

Wow! Anothe literary comparison! Thanks for it.

This a great comment for me to read: you pick up on a couple of important aspects I tried for. Thank you.

A Cuban in London
Another wonderful response for which I thank you sincerely. Such responses do have great value.

Thanks once again. It is really encouraging to get such feedback.

Tolkien or Lewis? Two of my early heroes. I do really thank you for this.

Dave King said...

Thanks for this, and yes, I do agree. I'd sign up for something like rather than the cloud scenario!

Hi, Welcome. Good to have your visit and your kind response. Thank you for both.

Much thanks as always for a helpful comment.

And thank you for your so generous response. It is both valuable and encouraging.

Sincere thanks.

Great compliment. Thanks a lot.

Actually, I thought more comments would veer along this line, though eerie was not intended.

Good to hear. Thanks.

Most intiguing. no, I did not know all this, though now that you have pointed it out, I can see the truth of it - or think I can! Thank you very much for this, it might bear looking into, I think. A really stimulating response.

Yes, there are such folk. I believe Prince Charles is one.

jabblog said...

This is delicious, Dave. I shall look at trees with freshly inquisitive eyes now.

Kat Mortensen said...

Absolutely stunning - both in word and image. I'm off to google "cotyledon" now.

kaykuala said...

A great verse, Dave! The jungle is neutral!


Dulcina said...

What else can I say that haven't been said yet...?
A beautiful metamorphosis, Dave, where human skin turns into sweet fruit and human bones into branches.
I remembered Tolkien's Ents, the talking trees.
I have also remembered those magic forests in tales where trees take the form of ghostly giants, their roots getting off the ground and walking...
I have also remembered Mark 8:22-25:
"They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."

I especially like when you say only people trees trust can see them as they "really" are, part tree, part man - part god
For others, they freeze.

Dave King said...

Oh dear, I do hope i'm not putting people off walking in the woods. Thanks for an encouraging comment.

Much thanks for this. Greatly appreciated, I do assure you.

The jungle is neutral... yes, I like that very much!

I had completely forgotten the words of the blind man, yet it is so apposite. thank you for this - a brilliant comment.

Lisa said...

This is the way to tell a story, it evokes all senses.

Steve Goetz said...

I read your poem twice aloud, Dave. My highest compliment. A wonderful poem.

Dave King said...

Hi, Welcome. Good to have your visit, and many thanks for the kind comment.

A warm welcome to you, and sincere thanks, both for visiting my blog and for such a very generous comment.

Tom said...

nice imagery

Cloudia said...

thank you