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When I am Among the Trees

Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It's simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission
Why I chose this poem: 

Who among us doesn't adore and revere trees? In under 20 lines, Mary Oliver succeeds in creating a tribute equal to our love. This was one of my mother's favorite poems, and is a universal reminder of our symbiotic connection with these gentle giants among us.

Jodi Vander Molen represents the Wisconsin Humanities Council on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. Jodi grew up on a small farm, and has kept a journal for 34 years. She was a poetry editor at The Progressive Magazine, and can be found reading at the many open mics and poetry slams her home of Madison, WI offers. Her weekly Tuesday haiku project and more work can be found on Instagram @jvwords.

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