What if? Can humans? Do trees?

For the prompt over at Real Toads, Magaly poses three questions in strange news. Which when you think about them, aren’t really strange at all.  This is also posted on Poets United Poetry Pantry.

What if? Can humans? Do trees?
“It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little…I discern great sanity in the Greek attitude…They loved the trees for the shadow that they cast, and the forest for its silence at noon.” Oscar Wilde

I know things. It is what I do.
I cook and I know things.
A team of scientists in Austria
armed with lasers and spending much time determined:
Trees sleep at night.
Their branches slightly bow down as if weighted with ice
or rain. They emit carbon dioxide at night
when breathing. In their dreams
(for trees do dream)
they see birds flying over head,
fantastical creatures and they watch
as purple bears and green squirrels
wander past.
Humans wander into the forest,
blind creatures who smell their way through
the forest, who sniff the scent of rain
dripping off branches. Humans smell the beauty of
the soil and ferns. The trees peer
up at the empty night sky from which the moon
has disappeared. The trees waken
listening for the songs of shattered stars
in the black night. But the moon has
taken herself to the land of purple bears
and green squirrels. While nose alive humans
sniff and snort the scent of beauty like
cocaine. Beauty and absent moon,
sleeping trees.
The dreaming trees look at the black sky
and sigh, missing the moon.

sleeping trees

32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Magaly Guerrero
    Feb 16, 2019 @ 20:42:44

    I think that the sad part about the “strange news” bit is that to way too many people the idea of, for instance, trees sleeping is really strange. I have no idea why. I mean, they are alive, the feed, the process light… why wouldn’t they need rest?

    I like the tone of these piece, it reads like a dream married a science experiment and they had a very interesting child… that certainly sleeps at night… and wonders about the scent of the moon’s love… before she vanishes.

    Reply

  2. kim881
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 04:45:45

    I love the Oscar Wilde quote, Toni, and the path your poem took – as Magaly said, like a dream married a science experiment and they had a very interesting child. I also like that the trees in your poem sleep at night and ‘Their branches slightly bow down as if weighted with ice or rain’, and that they have dreams in which they see birds flying over head! The trees in my poem stayed awake all night – or did they?

    Reply

  3. Brendan
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 04:55:28

    The living forest is also a much more sentient one than us, in all the ways that matter to the biosphere. Absolutely loved how you took the science and made it a poetry. Penultimate line — “Beauty and absent moon, / sleeping trees” is the whole challenge and proper lysis for the poem. What do we know, and what we know too late …

    Reply

  4. coalblack
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 06:58:28

    My hat is off to you for even attempting this. You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

    Reply

  5. anmol(alias HA)
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 07:12:19

    What a mesmerizing piece with its science and poetics culminating into this experience of a fantasy-rich and reality-emulating night! It’s like those truths that we know but wouldn’t comprehend even if they stand bare before our very eyes. I read your words as lifting that invisible veil and actually looking and feeling the sleeping and dreaming trees, a disappeared moon, and all those scents of beauty.

    Reply

  6. georgeplace2013
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 09:47:00

    I love the quote, I love trees, and I love “In their dreams
    (for trees do dream)
    they see birds flying over head,
    fantastical creatures and they watch
    as purple bears and green squirrels
    wander past.” and “Humans wander into the forest,
    blind creatures”

    Reply

  7. sanaarizvi
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 10:09:00

    This is absolutely exquisitely drawn, Toni! ❤️ Especially touched by “The trees waken listening for the songs of shattered stars in the black night. 🙂

    Reply

  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 11:24:49

    The way you describe the trees and bears in the dream took me down to the same path as Alice did when exploring her wonderland… maybe humans are best when they are blind… relying on scent.

    Reply

  9. annell4
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 14:24:05

    Yes, there would be so much to miss, if the moon disappeared. What a wonderful write!!

    Reply

  10. Sherry Blue Sky
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 14:38:14

    Oh, this is so gorgeous! My new favourite of yours. I especially love what the trees dream about. I wrote about this too, but not as well. I am heading off to the forest this afternoon……….only a short block to forest trails and a small beach. The First Nations woman who teaches about her culture says the forest knows we are coming and to announce ourselves, and let it know we come in peace and appreciate it. I love that!

    Reply

  11. Charmed Chaos
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 15:05:10

    Wow- I fell down the rabbit hole with you Toni- spectacular!

    Reply

  12. purplepeninportland
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 20:22:54

    I love the way this all melded together, so smoothly. Tree dreams seem to be quite lovely, like a fairytale.

    Reply

  13. magicalmysticalteacher
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 23:18:58

    I love the image of the trees listening for the songs of shattered stars during the night. Awesome!

    Reply

  14. Jim
    Feb 17, 2019 @ 23:25:16

    I love the thought of sleeping trees. I am glad the scientists said “yes, trees do sleep.” That should quiet the unbeliever for a bit. Too bad they cannot see in the dark, we must fix that problem. Could you cook up so potent brew that will have the end result of plants seeing the dark like fish and birds do. Please, no carrots.
    ..

    Reply

  15. Shannon Blood
    Feb 18, 2019 @ 13:19:50

    This is captivating. I paused for a long time at this point in the poem, considering human blindness and our disconnect from nature
    “Humans wander into the forest,
    blind creatures who smell their way through
    the forest, who sniff the scent of rain
    dripping off branches.”

    Reply

  16. Carrie V. H.
    Feb 18, 2019 @ 13:59:17

    Trees do dream….I believe it Toni, and I love all the truth and wonderful images in this. The trees deserve your beautiful truths. Love this Toni!!

    Reply

  17. Marian
    Feb 18, 2019 @ 18:13:35

    Ah… nice. My dreams are like tree dreams, but I dream of trees too 🙂

    Reply

  18. Susie Clevenger
    Feb 18, 2019 @ 18:55:50

    A scientific dreamscape… I wish I could remember my dreams…I often wonder if I do. Beautiful words

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Feb 18, 2019 @ 19:58:56

      Thank you. The moon actually disappears once monthly and the Smithsonian recently had an exhibit about how art smells. Pretty cool.

      Get Outlook for Android

      ________________________________

      Reply

  19. Marie Elena
    Feb 18, 2019 @ 20:48:40

    This is so lovely!

    Reply

  20. Iron Maiden
    May 25, 2019 @ 14:51:27

    Absolutely beautiful 💕❤️

    Reply

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