Red maple tree
I lie back in the weather-proofed green chair
To gaze up at the flowering maple tree.
Now, touched by sun, lungs full of scented air
I embrace with joy the beauty I now see.
Old celandine show brightly by my feet
Neglected currant bushes straggle round the path
There is no birdsong yet a silence sweet
Soothes my heart and quietens my wrath.
For my heart's sore and anguished is my mind
Yet in this little wood I feel deep calm.
My eyes are shadowed and my face is lined.
May this green spring bring me a gentle balm.
For even in depression and deep grief,
The mind makes healing medicine of a leaf.
- Katherine Thwaite
The Maple Tree
The Maple with its tassell flowers of green
That turns to red, a stag horn shapèd seed
Just spreading out its scallopped leaves is seen,
Of yellowish hue yet beautifully green.
Bark ribb’d like corderoy in seamy screed
That farther up the stem is smoother seen,
Where the white hemlock with white umbel flowers
Up each spread stoven to the branches towers
And mossy round the stoven spread dark green
And blotched leaved orchis and the blue-bell flowers -
Thickly they grow and neath the leaves are seen.
I love to see them gemm’d with morning hours.
I love the lone green places where they be
And the sweet clothing of the Maple tree.
- John Clare
The Seeds of the Red Maple
Overnight, the red maple in our backyard,
provider of shade when leaves are full and days
are hot, and of majesty even when bare
in winter, has let go of its seeds, now at
mid summer, in the joy of light and
grief of time taking its inevitable
shape, the season giving in to its own pulse,
the maple’s colors soon to turn once again.
The tree’s fruit keys * are everywhere, in grass and
shrubs and covering the patio flagstones
and table at which I write this poem, their
strange green casings joined to one another as
if in an eternal kiss, their oddly shaped
wings, whose reticulate filaments emerge
out of a leathery spine, mimicking the
half moon, its glow doing the dark’s secret work.
Children, splitting the husks open to find the
sticky pith within (which squirrels love to eat
raised up on haunches, forepaws in a flurry,
their frantic chewing the hint of an autumn
recklessness when winter food must be stored), fix
the wings to their noses so they are marked as
people of the tree, yet other seeds will fly
free, taking their tenacious hold in the soil.
- Burt Kimmelman