By Sage Cohen of Portland, Oregon. She "believes that poetry and trees can change the world" and owns her own communications firm, Sage Communications.

We collect in the morning glare
with our coffee and dogs.
Mo and Barb. Sam and Pete.
Robin and Tim.
As the night pattern
holds the sky together,
we are both symbol and light.

We work with the young volunteers,
the old volunteers,
to nourish our cement streets.

Like dream, the trees began
somewhere else and arrived in trucks.
To release their young hungers,
we whack each bucket heavily.

The hole needs to be exactly deep to receive.
Together we lower the first tender pre-trunk
stem into the earth, secure its nimbus
of new leaves against insults, cars,
the imminent inconsiderations of humanity.
We tamp down earth around
the fragile root bulb. Circle it with nutrients
to help the soil relearn its purpose
as it takes its first breaths from where
the squares of cement were cut away.

Pete reopens an old wound, bleeds
into the water that will first feed the tree.
Our messy lives overflow and mingle.
>From absolute to continuity.

When each trees is upright
and firm in its new intention,
excesses swept away,
neighbors collect like moths.
We breathe these green
frequencies of light.

That we have eaten bagels together,
hammered nails, hauled heavy buckets, dug
up dirt to make a space for a life to enter
will outlive the spit and detritus
that drift through our disinterested streets.

Each light ignites the constellation.

My Pyramidal Hornbeam is dense
with unspent perfumes.
She is at the beginning
of her street story, a continuation
of the seed's impulse toward history.
I name her Hilda, for Grandma
who has lost her language
but not her laughter.
The name is the place
where love and suffering
come together,
two layers against the cold.
The lining and the leather.

Like the street, the moment
opens to possibility.

What the world calls unjust,
we might name beauty.
Or we might sit quietly
unshaped by words
observing what we've planted
and how it grows.


  • Bret & Darlene & Els (unverified)

    Very nice Sage, I like it

  • slider (unverified)

    My. Have we sunk so low that we actually have to post (and in that standardless liberal way, even praise) poetry on a political site?

  • Gregor (unverified)

    I'm sorry, have we actually "sunk". On the contrary, we have risen, or can't you get it up?

    Sage, forgive me, I feel compelled to answer the inane statements of somone who refers to themselves as Slider. I fear he has slid out of any human empathetic capacity into a sour withered permanent vegetative state. Maybe Congress can save him. Or perhaps referring to him as vegetative honors him to excess of his capacities.

    And since I have posted hear, I'm sure another inane remark will follow, like a shadow. Evidently my Mommy was so excited to see my post last time she twitched and replied twice!

    These children are so-o-o amusing!

    I love your poem. Thanks for sharing. I hope Slider and my Shadow can really SEE a tree some day.

  • Darlene (unverified)

    Wow, very inspiring poem. Thanks for putting yourself out there Sage!

    I'm sad for Slider.
    So much beauty. So little awareness.

  • (Show?)

    Slider, not sure if you noticed, but we've had poetry since the beginning.

    Also, this is much more than a political blog. From the original manifesto...

    It'll be progressive; it'll be smart; it'll be funny; it'll be compelling; it'll be provocative; it'll be unpredictable. It'll be political, but not narrowly so. It'll be a free-ranging social and cultural critique. It'll be by Oregonians and for Oregonians, but not always about Oregon. Above all else, BlueOregon will not be boring.

  • (Show?)

    p.s. to Slider: Also, read the poem. Kinda political if you're reading critically.

  • Lacy (unverified)

    Mmmmmmm. Trees. I love their browness, I love their smell of bark. I JUST LOVE TREES. I first discovered my love for trees when I was home from college in 1981. I was suntanning nude behind the hedge. Pablito, our gardener, usually never worked on Saturdays. It turns out he left a tool behind, and he thought he would pick it up without being noticed. Well I noticed him all right: Pablito, his tool, and all those trees. Mmmmmmm. I just love Earth Day.

  • Joseph (unverified)

    Politics is nothing if not poetry. Unfortunately, politics, as practiced in our modern world, too often degrades into bad poetry, but poetry nonetheless. Ms. Cohen's narrative poem about doing something positive in the local environ in which she lives is essentially what politics are truly about: personal involvement.

    That she expresses it in a strong and tender language that explores what underlies the topical evidence of such a community act is testament to her committed involvement to thinking globally (trees are good for the Earth) and acting locally.

    Thank you, Ms. Cohen, for allowing me to slow down long enough to scent today's dark roots and imagine blossoms erupting in a green time to come.

  • Juli (unverified)

    Sage- I am so lucky to have such a beautifully creative friend. Each time I go past the trees in front of your house I will now know who they are - they're history. This was such a beautiful poem. I really loved the line "Our messy lives overflow and mingle. From absolute to continuity." You are such a gift to the creative (whoel) world. and a wonderful mother to boot! Juli

  • David Ford (unverified)

    SAGE you are goddess. most definitely a poet Laureate of the sacred future. Slider, if you step into the greenwold you will meet yourself comimg back as strider, you may be suprised at the beauty you encounter ranger, this woman is one of America's rising stars brother man .watch out for this comets tail, it may tickle you. David

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