Friday, April 07, 2017


"Trees Like Us" by Troy's Work Table.

Sidewalk chalk wash, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, and charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.


"a breathing interrupted by a silence / in which the very air is suspended" and "All night the trees whisper sweet nothings / that put us to sleep, then hold us."

—from "Trees Like Us" by Marvin Bell, as found in Poetry for a Midsummer's Night: In the Spirit of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream


I've always been fascinated by anthropomorphized trees—the cedars of Lebanon clapping their hands in the Psalms, the Ents in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, treefolk of the fairy realms.


Here, in this poem, there is magic.


I tend to think creation gets saved alongside (and because of) humankind when humanity is redeemed. But this poem switches who is redeemed and who is saved alongside the others. Here it is the trees that pull us along.


I get the sense that these "trees like us" aren't really like us, however. They feel as indifferent as the trees in the poems of Robinson Jeffers, They may be alive and they may sing us to sleep, but they don't really care about us, in the same way that we don't really care about them.

(Marvin Bell seems to care about the trees, especially since they feature in a few of the poems in this collection, but he seems to be an exception.)

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