Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Morning You Left Me

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cigarettes on plateIs this your picture? Please let me know and I will credit you!

The morning you left me
I smoked the filters from the cigarette butts
That you left crushed into apostrophes and commas on my grandmother’s china tea plate
Because I wanted to recapture the feeling of your mouth being on my own
I searched my bed sheets for any traces of your body
Stray hairs, an eyelash, a sweat stain, a broken toenail
While I clung to the pillow desperately breathing in your smell
Before it could fade away

That day, I discovered just how quiet a downtown apartment could be
The buzzing of my refrigerator, the swishing of my toilet, the sirens outside my window
Everything seemed muted by the heaviness in my being
All I could hear was the rhythm of your heartbeat
Calling to me through your ribcage
Like the ocean whispers through a conch shell held up to a child’s ear
I can still feel your fingertips casually tracing circles on my shoulder
Wearing a path through the thick skin
Like the fractures that formed in my soul
The moment you closed the door
On the morning you left me.

Creative Commons License
This work, “The Morning You Left Me” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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The Secret Language Of Trees

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(For David Kraemer)

Circle ‘round, Children
As I tell you about the secret language of trees
An ancient tongue that existed long before you and I
A means of communication that will outlive us all

There are those who will tell you that trees are plants
And that plants have no souls
And that plants have no thoughts
So to believe that trees can talk is foolish
These people have forgotten the Old Ways
They stopped listening to the songs that Earth sings for them
Their ears are plugged up and their hearts are hardened
They have sat so long in buildings constructed of poisonous materials
Staring at computer screens
Gasping stale, recycled air
Growing hydroponically under florescent light
That they forgot the taste of spring rain
And the crunch of pine needles under their feet

Learn the secret language of the trees, Children
So that you can teach the Old Ways to those who will still listen
For 370 million years, the trees have been speaking
It is time for us to start hearing them again

Trees are as blood and bone as you and I
Their trunks and branches are skeletons
Their roots are hands
Every leaf is a strand of hair
Drops of sap, resin, and latex
Are the sanguine proofs of wounds
No different than a face burned by winter wind
Or a scraped knee

This is why we ask the trees permission to harvest their bounty
Carving into their sides to drain their fluids is piercing them to collect their essence
Shaving their bark is peeling off their skin
Plucking their fruit is pulling out their eye lashes
We leave them offerings to thank them for their generosity:
Placentae, feathers, shells, bowls of honey
For we know we cannot live without their sacrifices

Like us, trees need community
Beneath the ground they wrap around each other
Embracing eternally
Supporting growth through protective touch
Like a man who bears a woman’s weight
As she clings to his neck and then squats to birth his child
A tree planted alone can be brutalized by harsh weather
But trees planted together in a grove stand back- to – back and side – to – side
Taking the brunt of wind, ice, and driving rain for each other
Learning to sway and dance to the contributions of Sky
Nodding in harmony to the heartbeat of Earth

And, just like us, trees make love
Creaking and groaning
Stretching out to caress each other
Their dangling catkins rising over the female flowers
Who open wide, ready to receive pleasure
Stimulated by the soft stroking of the wind
Leaves shiver and the tree climaxes
Pollen bursts forth in a spray of delight
And the flowers take the pollen deep into themselves
Creating seeds that will ease from their bodies
Bringing forth new life

These are the ways of love, Children
We find someone who speaks to our hearts
We lean into them and rub up against them
We ache to be so close to each other that we become one another
Uniting our bodies and starting new life from sighs of arousal
The trees feel no shame in longing
We should also feel no shame

The linguistics of trees is not difficult to decode
We have merely allowed other sounds to overpower their conversations with us
The presence of trees has been so constant for humans that we take them for granted
Favouring the loud honking of cars, the grinding of gears, and chugging of engines
To the slow and breathy speech found in forests, fields, and arboretums

Trees want to share their secrets
They have been holding stories and knowledge inside them for so long
That they yearn for someone to lean against their sturdy trunks
Take off their shoes to feel the rich, loamy press of Earth against their feet
And to hear what they have to say

Trees know the magic for turning air and light into food
They hold the answers for changing carbon dioxide into oxygen
Breathe in, Children, breathe out
We are alive because of tree respiration
Trees have the wisdom to let go of the parts of themselves that no longer serve them
Allowing crisp, brown leaves and withered twigs to fall away
In order to enrich the soil for newer, better, stronger growth
From this decomposition, the trees thrive
And the tiny tendrils of their children creep forth
The promise of immortality born from death itself

Trees can call to rain, seducing reluctant clouds to release their drops
Cooling the air and filling the streams so Life may continue
They know how to calm the wind, soothing the angry blows from Sky
Urging gentleness from tempestuousness
The trees wish to guide us on our journeys
And so they give us directions through the lichen and moss
That adorns their creases, cracks, splits, and scarred faces
Trees are spiritual leaders
Acting as oracles and housing Spirit in their shadowy groves
Hiding faeries, sprites, seekers, and ascetics
Encouraging us to seek the Divine by keeping our feet on the ground and stretching towards the heavens
They have seen gods rise and fall and false prophets fade away
Long after our temples have crumbled into dust and ashes
The trees will hold the truth of Creation
Whispering prayers through trembling leaves

A tree may live several thousand years, Children
If you plant a tree today
You could reach across many generations
To lovingly place food into the mouths of descendents who are so far removed from you, they no longer remember your name
You could give the children of your children’s children’s children’s children
The mahogany frame on which they will make their bed
Or the cedar that they burn in their fires

In this manner, the trees hold onto the Old Ways
Even though we have become distracted
And forgotten our purpose
They hold the truth for us
Keeping it safe
Until we are ready to take it back
As long as we care for the trees
They will care for us

This is the secret language of trees, Children
Keep it in your heart as you kneel upon Earth to plant
Feel it in your stomach as you hunger for bread
Rub it across your brow as you sweat and ache
To bear seedlings across your back is to carry all of creation
If you bow under the weight
Remember the sacred, swaying dance of the trees
And know that you too will stand tall again

Tree Pic

Creative Commons License
This work, “The Secret Language of Trees” by Beth Murch,  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.