Tuesday, June 22, 2010


July 20, 1999
[This was written as a Tofino writers' group exercise: what kind of tree would you be, if you were a tree? I chose the Hanging Garden Tree, on the Tall Tree Trail on Meares Island. Many life forms grow upon its branches. As a single mother of four, grandmother of four, I could relate to this tree:) The title could be a response to Jerry Mander's In the Absence of the Sacred. The air in that forest was more holy than any cathedral.]

I am Hanging Garden Tree,
my thick trunk hosting
an abundance of life forms,
diverse and vital;
garlanded with root and vine,
with fern and flower,
a universe
within my leafy bower.

I am home to Sky Creatures,
all the winged ones,
Owl and skyhawk,
Murrulet and swallow;
small furry-pawed ones
dart among my branches
and nestle soft within my sleepy hollows.

A thousand fern fronds
drape fringed shawls
along my shoulders,
soft moss, green lichen
and fat mushroom clinging,
climbing vine that wraps itself around me
and, in my hair,
a hundred sparrows, singing.

Myriad insect worlds
I tend and harbor.
I shelter bear and wolf,
am food for deer.
To all Two-Leggeds
who come before me, seeking,
I offer peace
within my
silent arbor.

Young Standing People
upon my branches grow.
They came through me,
nurtured the best I know.
Roots fattened
with the seasons
of my living,
they stretch beyond my reach now,
one by one,
as I support
their separate struggle
towards the sun.

In this the season
of my deep reflection
I'm tired now;
I have endured an age.
At dusk,
Sky Woman comes
serene and sage
to scatter stars
about my weary head,
while Sister Moon
sends me
such perfect dreams
I'm spirit-fed
and morning comes
too soon.

In this grove
we're in
the presence of the sacred:
feeling our shared breath,
tenancy of earth and sky,
to all the Four Directions
by the Love
to which we all belong,
under the grace
of a Celestial Eye,
all singers
of a universal song.


  1. Dearest Sherry,
    This is why poetry is created.

    So that we, as human beings, can reach out and touch eternity, be more than what we are, rise up to the occasion. So that we can inspire others.

    Like you have done here....

  2. "I'm spirit-fed"

    This tree and all life!

  3. fabulous nature poem, and what a great choice of tree!

  4. Sherry, I always enjoy your perspectives on nature. A hanging garden tree sounds like a perfect tree. And I love the ending.."all singers of a universal song."

  5. Oh you all are so kind. I so apreciate you reading and commenting on my poems. It makes my day! Off to read some of your wonderful poems now:)

  6. An awesome post! Excellently written!

    -Weasel =)

  7. This is lovely, Sherry.

    'a universe
    within my leafy bower.'

    Says it all.

  8. An absolutely gorgeous piece! It/you spoke to my soul.

  9. Sweet indeed. I love the hundred sparrows singing!

    Thanks for the wonderful comment on mine this morning. It made my day.

  10. I do love this tree, Sherry, and it is the perfect choice for you. As the tree offers peace within its silent arbor, so you have provided sanctuary for needy souls with your calm and caring ways...

    Beautiful, and fitting, poem!

  11. Wow - Sherry beautiful images....I must make it to Tofino next year..I have heard so much about it....what is the best way to get there from Victoria?...bkm

  12. "feeling our shared breath tenancy of earth and sky". This poem is simply amazing! I love it!

  13. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

    "and, in my hair,
    a hundred sparrows, singing."

    Oh my! I have no words for how much I LOVE that line.

    Just wonderful!

  14. You speak my kind of prayer here. This is just lovely. I have always had more affinity to the religious beliefs of Native American Indians than to those of any organized church.

  15. Sparrows in her hair. How absolutely beautiful.

  16. Beautiful.

    In this the season
    of my deep reflection
    I'm tired now;
    I have endured an age.

    These moments are our greatest muse. I agree with pattiken - this does sound like a prayer. You send it, delicate, into the wind hoping that God will find it and reply.

  17. My dear Sherry, you took my breath away with this beautiful poem.
    I love the tree being a haven for all forms of life.

    Penned like a true pro!

    Thank you for this piece and thank you visiting my blog.

  18. oh i love that line "tenancy of earth and sky," so right, sherry. love this. whoosh!

  19. This is so magnificent so all-engulfing of all of life. Truly a treat to partake of. Many thanks.

  20. You are so right, Sherry. The sacred exists all around us. I find it in my garden, I find it in the wild. I find it in my kitchen, I find it in my child.


  21. Sherry,
    As usual your wonderful words, contain a great respect and affinity with nature.
    You are indeed Sky woman, Sherry.
    A real friend of the Earth.

    Best wishes, Eileen :)
    Sorry for my lateness in commenting, but time seems to be in short suply these days, with my grandson, taking priority, most days!!!!

  22. Sherry I so love this. It is quite familiar to me. I think that i read it but apparently did not comment. I am so glad to come back. It is you. It is you.

  23. Ah, this is a good one. I see I commented on it earlier...and so did D...... Makes me kind of sad to see that; but it is a beautiful poem.

  24. Thats what we call a classic poetry. Beautiful :-)

  25. "garlanded with root and vine,
    with fern and flower,
    a universe
    within my leafy bower."

    Wow. Fantastically put. Also, I like the rhyme-pairs tucked throughout the entire piece.

  26. Sherry: this is a novel and you have covered all aspects and brought the characters of your tree visitors to life. Such an original point of view.

  27. You have taught me a new word....murrulet.

  28. I love trees--and this is a wonderful piece Sherry--I feel the peace and strength and wisdom in it--

  29. Thank you for taking us on a journey into old forest, to sit among old roots, and listen.

  30. This is lovely and inspiring Sherry ~ It lifted my spirits up ~ Sighs ~

  31. Wow Sherry...one of your best to me. Meritorious personification!

  32. Fantastic, Sherry! You've captured the goings-on, the activities and the myriads of living on and around a big tree. There is so much a tree has to put up with. Great, Ma'am!


  33. The picture is still haunting the second time around...

  34. reading your poems is like meditating in silence inside a monastery.the world falls of and we enter the shrine of the spirit.

  35. I could not think of a more appropriate tree to describe all you give, and all you are, Sherry. I loved this interesting way of exploring selfness.

  36. Love the descriptions! "They came through me, nurtured the best I know" resonated with me!

  37. the first word that comes to mind is 'divine' ~ truly stunning, Sherry!

  38. This is so full of rich images and the beauty of nature, great read.


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