Theme Thursday,, gave a simple prompt: Tree

It brought back memories of an old oak tree in a corner of the family farm. For some reason, trees gain beauty in their old age. The more bent and misshapen they are, the more beautiful they become. Only an artist or a poet sees people that way.

by Mike Patrick

Flickr image by Rory Francis, not an oak, but close to my vision as I could find.

No one knows how old it is,
maybe it’s always been.
It’s twisted, bent and scarred
from lightening, floods and fires.
Still it lives. A few limbs
sprout leaves every year.
A few acorns fall.
A lonely squirrel’s nest–
the only flag it flies.

Two hundred years of stones
make up the wall it shades.
It’s the tree and the wall that brings them:
the pilgrimage of artists,
walking for miles,
to find beauty in its tortured limbs;
its gnarled bole.

With reverence, easels are carefully placed,
and they await the perfect light.
Silently they sketch and paint,
serenaded by the meadowlarks.

As evening nears,
reluctantly they leave,
always stopping for one more look
at the artist’s tree.

This entry was posted in Free Verse, Mixed Meter, Nature, Organic, Poetry, Theme Thursday, Un-rhyming and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to THE ARTIST’S TREE

  1. Mike, this is sumptuous, a tribute to appreciating nature. “Its tortured limbs” is a phrase that stands out, and the characters of the artists are every bit as well-drawn (no pun intended) as the tree and stones. Really good writing, my friend! Thanks, Amy

    • Mike Patrick says:

      I’m no artist, but years ago, after reading How to Draw on the Right Side of the Brain, I did a lot of pencil drawing. Since poetry keeps me in that right-brain mode so much of the time, I can visualize that tree more clearly than any other time of my life. I may have to dig out the pencils and sketchbook again–if I can find them after the grand-kids finished with them.

  2. For this tree-oholic, this poem is balm of Gilead.

  3. ladynimue says:

    super liked this .. could feel myself looking at the tree and the artists ..what imagery !

  4. adeeyoyo says:

    Absolutely beautiful tribute to trees, Mike. I adore trees and you’re right, there’s something about age…

  5. TheMsLvh says:

    Great description of an artist seeking for that perfect light. There are many artists in my area constantly setting up easels, your words painted the picture perfectly!

  6. becca givens says:

    I love the character of trees. Majestic oaks and cypress trees are among my favorites – each has their own personality and story … An artist’s appreciation and impression makes an indelible image. Thank you, Mike!

    • Mike Patrick says:

      They do have personalities. I often see trees alongside the road that almost brings me to a stop for the story its appearance tells. I was surprised when I went on Flickr and searched for “artist’s tree.” I went through 49 pages of twenty-five photos each, without finding any to use in my blog. Apparently not many photographers have an artist’s eye for trees. I had to change my search to “ancient trees” before finding one to use.

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