3 trillion
      Trees on the planet, and you
      Come to my window, green-leaved
And enough
      Oxygen for two to ten
      People per year. How many
Cats is that?
      See my Siamese watching
      Your branches when they dance big


Inspired by: As we enter the season of gratitude, I wanted to write about something I am thankful for. I’m a big nature lover, so was delighted by Karen Trachsel’s 2019 project, Rounded Biographies, which features trees. The Swiss designer’s 45 symbols explore dendrochronology—the scientific method of determining the age of a tree by examining the tree’s growth rings.

Symbol: #27 of 45

Poetic Form: I decided to write the poem in a form associated with a people or culture that values trees, and immediately thought of Celtic mythology—which is full of tree goddesses and spirits! During my research I came upon the treochair (couldn’t have planned that name any better!), an ancient Celtic form written in three-line stanzas. The first line has three syllables, while the second and third lines each have seven. The treochair traditionally has a repetitive rhyming scheme, but, well, it just wasn’t happening for me.

Process: I did very basic research on trees—how many there are in the world, why they are important to the health of the planet—as well as some delving into Celtic myths. I was pondering how to put it all together when I looked out my bedroom window—and there was the tree I see first-thing every day. I always sit for a bit and meditate on this tree, so she’s like a friend. And my cat Ira sits on the windowsill and watches the tree, too, every morning after his breakfast. We are both clearly grateful, so this poem is about “our” tree.

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