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WIth thanks to Rosemary. Blogger, stranger, kindred spirit.

Rosemary's Blog

National Poetry Month. 25

Big Leaf Maple Big Leaf Maple

Learning Trees
by Howard Nemerov

Before you can learn the trees, you have to learn
The language of the trees.  That’s done indoors,
Out of a book, which now you think of it
Is one of the transformations of a tree.

The words themselves are a delight to learn,
You might be in a foreign land of terms
Like samara, capsule, drupe, legume and pome,
Where bark is papery, plated, warty or smooth.

But best of all are the words that shape the leaves —
Orbicular, cordate, cleft and reniform —
And their venation — palmate, and parallel —
And tips — acute, truncate, auriculate.

Sufficiently provided, you may now
Go forth to the forests and shady streets
To see how the chaos of experience
Answers to catalogue and category.

Confusedly.  The leaves of a single tree
May differ among themselves more than…

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