Baby Tulip Poplar Tree
A Poem by Anne K. Kaler
My morning paper lies across the drive,
leaf-scattered and branch-adorned,
gifts of the giant tulip poplar tree
in our nextdoor neighbor’s yard.
Green shapes of little mittened-hands
rise above the cracked cement
in which odd seeds have come to die —
bird’s fastfood stop in each crevice.
One spot of green raises baby hands
in supplication to me. I stop to look
in wonder for, within the narrow crack,
I see a baby tulip poplar tree.
Like Christ’s sower of the field,
this seed has fallen on fallow ground,
exiled away from freedom, sunlight,
earth, air, soft breezes, and fresh rain.
The Mother tree has lavished
Her seeds in compact buds but
some have gone awry, it seems,
into a hidden narrow grave
to die, unloved, un-harvested —
never to know the breadth of
space nor whipping winds or
feel its roots or trunk expand.
Hardscrabble life in a cement grave,
it pushes forth its tiny waving leaves,
reminding me that life endures
in struggle, suffering, and in poetry.
For, within my crazed life, my poems too
lie hidden deep in crevices, to reach
forth to birth despite the odds
of blooming there yet, living in its crack,
the seed reaches for the Light far above
as if to make the whole world see
the Light above is also in
my baby tulip poplar tree.
Anne K. Kaler, Ph.D. As a life-long reader, Anne (always with an “e”) is now attempting to read every book in the universe, while helping to publishing more. Surprised to learn that she was actually a teacher, she persisted in that field for nearly fifty years until she started volunteering at PSB.