salute to a city tree

by Margaret Tsuda

Image: Akintola Hanif via HYCIDE
Image: Akintola Hanif via HYCIDE

Your roots push and
hump under the cement
that men have
lain upon you as if
you were a
prisoner to be
denied
                even water.

The exhaust gas of
many motors has
stripped and blackened
a half of your branches.

The bright tender
green of your buds
and leaves
is grayed by the
unremitting
smokeshade of
the city.

But passersby
can see that
you believe
“I am that which lives.
I will grow.”

For this
we humbly
                salute you!

In an Arbor Day booklet prepared for Newark school students in 1916, Shade Tree Commission secretary Carl Bannwart wrote: “The more you come to know of trees, the more you’ll come to love them. And whatsoever you truly love, you take care of without urging.”

The Christian Science Monitor of November 14, 1970, published this poem by longtime resident Margaret Tsuda. It appeared in her collection Cry love aloud in 1972.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s