Sentinels of the Earth
The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands,
translated from French by Stuart Gilbert
If you would know strength and patience,
welcome the company of trees.
- Hal Borland
I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky
- Khalil Gibran
Every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of
gold and silver.
- Martin Luther
Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the
- Rabindranath Tagore,
Trees are much like human beings and
enjoy each other’s company.
- Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939
It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a
claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something,
that quality of air that emanation from old trees,
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
- Robert Louis Stevenson
I never saw a discontented tree.
They grip the ground as though they liked it, and
though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.
They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind,
going and coming like ourselves,
traveling with us around the
sun two million miles a day,
and through space heaven knows how
fast and far!
- John Muir
And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins
- Kathleen Raine, Collected Poems
Planting trees early in spring,
we make a place for birds to sing in time to come.
How do we know? They are singing here now.
There is no other guarantee that singing will ever be.
- Wendell Berry
Believe one who knows
You will find something greater in woods than books.
Trees and stones will teach you
that which you can never learn from masters
- Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
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.
Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life,
every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing
from the balsam bells and leaves.
No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples…
- John Muir
Trees, proud standing people
stretching fingertips to the sky, reaching, praying
glorious attention, breathing light.
bending and firm
rooted chorus line
dancing with the moon, the wind, the clouds
framing bursts of stars
tender rugged celebration
absorbing and releasing life
each holy branch holding
the power of the Universe.
- Wallace Stevens