Tree Poems

By Linda Wiggen Kraft,
The Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

My nectarine tree grows in a garden bed next to the street where many people walk by. The tree grows along with several shrubs and many perennials. In the winter the tree is bare of its leaves, but late last winter it had tree poem leaves. I tied a few magnolia leaves onto the bare branches with poems and inspiring words painted on them. The thick green magnolia leaves with velvet brown undersides blew in the wind and caught the eye of many passing by. 

During last winter and spring I didn’t know if anyone stopped to read the leaves. As the nectarine leaves emerged the magnolia leaves were hidden by the new greenery. By the time the nectarine leaves fell in fall only a couple magnolia leaves were still hanging, much dried out and brown but still holding their words. 

Last summer I found out that some neighbors and others did stop to read the poems. Often children were the ones who first saw the leaves and noticed there were words written on them. Everyone who commented loved the surprise leaves during the months where trees are usually bare.

This year I am starting 2022 with more leaf poems that will again hang on the nectarine tree. I bought some beautiful magnolia leaves from a Christmas tree market in December. I will write short sayings and poems with sharpie on the green leaf side and use white acrylic paint on the back brown velvety side.

I urge others to create a poem tree that shares words and short poems with others who will discover a new kind of leaf on winter trees. If magnolia leaves are hard to come by, thick paper cut into a leaf shape will also work. Paints or markers that won’t run in the snow and rain will hold the words. A bare tree or bush is the perfect home for winter poem leaves. I used thin twine tied tightly on the stem of the leaf and onto the branch. Paper leaves may need some clear tape on the stem to help the stem stay strong. Place the poem leaves next to the sidewalk or street where people can easily stop to read the words. 

Here are the words I will write on the leaves this year: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees” – Henry David Thoreau. “When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us” – John O’Donohue. “It is a serious thing to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world – Mary Oliver. “Come my friends, ‘tis not to late to seek a newer world” – Alfred Lord Tennyson. “Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky” – Kahlil Gibran. “Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you” – Rumi.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and creativity workshop leader. Subscribe to her blog and Instagram on her website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Call her at 314 504-4266