The Names of Trees

 

I am teaching my children
the names of trees

white pine
hemlock
maple

the shape of leaves
the feel of bark

beech
hickory
oak 

the way birds live in their branches
the way their branches live in my heart 

tamarack
balsam
birch

I am teaching my children
the rising of sap

the bursting of green
the touching of sky 

jack pine
cedar
spruce 

I am teaching my children
the falling to ground
the falling apart 

willow
walnut
elm 

I am teaching my children
to grow after I’m gone 

poplar
chestnut
ash 

I am teaching my children
to teach their children
the names of trees

 

 

Rae Crossman
Set as choral music for adult and children’s choir by Alfred Kunz with the title “Touching of Sky”