SharingPoets@StPauls - August Discussion Starter

For years, SharingPoets@StPauls has brought together members of our community to share and discuss poetry. We are still “meeting” each month via e-mail, so make sure to send your name and email to Fr. Tom Holahan, CSP at tholahan@paulist.org to be included in the discussion group if you haven’t already done so! Read this month’s unabridged discussion starter below.

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SharingPoets for August 2022


There’s something wonderful about trees. The first poem that comes to mind may be “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer, paradoxically his entire reputation rests on this simple work, published in Poetry Magazine (1913) soon after it began. The story is that Kilmer was writing something else, then looked out his window in Mahwah, New Jersey and thought about trees. This past week the New York Times had an article about the under-appreciated mature trees in the parks of Paris. Due to their age and climate change, they may warrant a poem more than others right now.


Robert Frost is another tree-inspired poet. In °The Sound of Trees° he sees them as lifetime companions, hearing their °song° from out his window every day. In °Birches,° Frost seems to casually lapse into a revere about his lost youth while writing a detailed and tactile encounter with a clump of them. Alfred, Lord Tennyson in °The Oak° takes a similar course, advising the reader to °Live thy Life\Young and old\Like yon oak…


Bright in spring,

Living gold,

Summer-rich

Then; and then

Autumn-changed

Soberer-hued

Gold again

All his leaves

Fall’n at length,

Look, He stands,

Trunk and bough

Naked strength.


Finally, let me introduce you to Benjamin Swett who worked at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for years documenting their collection of trees (about 700,000 --many bordering sidewalks). Read his book on specific trees and their stories: New York City of Trees https://www.amazon.com/York-City-Trees-Benjamin-Swett/dp/1593720521or to find endless information on trees planted near and far by the Department of Parks browse their tree map https://tree-map.nycgovparks.org/


Hope your summer is idyllic and that you can spend some time writing poetry under the dappled shade of an old, old tree!


I look forward to your musings on trees and other topics poetic!


Fr Tom

SharingPoets for August 2022
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