They say trees scream when you cut them, even a gash from a wayward stick releases their voices.Birds know. Winds that sift through the leaves whisper to them. The
birds chitter, the trees sigh spent from their injury. We do not hear them. We cannot be still enough. We cannot be silent enough. We cannot be formless, let their pure energy join with us, or invite ourselves into their ineffable lives.
The ginko tower above the pool wall, the humming pumps, peeling rubber rafts, tangled bougainvillea. They are Siamese twins, sharing a single trunk below, then at the crotch dividing into separate trees. The right is golden, turning coppery early in the season, a brightness you can see after dark, an illusion of light still trapped in its shimmer.
On the left, the tree is summer green, no curling brown leaf edges signaling a new season. Vibrant, defiant. Are they speaking, in each an expression to what is leaving, what is coming? Or is one simply closer to the sun’s relentless light longer, drying fast within the space of those extra hours? The other, shaded by the big house, bathed with the sea fog drifting up at dusk? Leaves flare and flash brightest before their death. We see them, but even when quiet cannot know any melody in those last songs and sighs.
Cathy Van Berkem is a writer living in California. She was introduced to poetry as a toddler by her mother, who read many things to her not the least of which was Child’s Garden of Verses.
This began a lifelong love of poetry. Educated at University of California Berkeley, her cum laude
degree was English with concentration in poetry. She has been an English teacher, a corporate
Learning and Development executive, an executive coach and management consultant to business,
academia, government, and non-profit organizations of all sizes and services. She has written poetry
since her teen-age years, but recently retired to become a writer full time. Writing poetry is as
important as breathing to her.