weeping birch

If the weeping birch sold its shade,
I’d be a regular customer
charmed by the long belts of bark
peeling from its trunk in curls.

Neighborhood children would interview me
and stay when they saw my
pockets full of stickers
ransacked from drawers in my cluttered classroom.
I’d trade them for confidential stories,
and visions of tomorrow whispered beneath
a blur of branches that disappear
in morning’s fog
as the paper bark,
brazen in its whiteness,
sings out loud.


Brenda Warren 2012


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37 thoughts on “weeping birch

  1. Brenda- the weeping birch… of course. I would have like to have been a child in the care of such a tree. And in a way I was. You made me remember. A bit late in getting ’round to visit and looking forward to this weeks wordle. Thanks again for putting these prompts out there and sharing your writing.


  2. I love this Brenda! Wonderful use of the words … have to share my love of birches with you. My first two published poems: The Trees Stand Watch and When Trees Weep are both about birches … I have a real soft spot for all varieties of these amazing trees. Again, a lovely poem.


    • Thank you, Sharon. Your comments are a bright spot on a tired Monday night. 🙂 I just finished grading last week’s homework, and settled into my comfy chair to check up on the Whirl. My early childhood was spent in northern Minnesota. I have memories of peeling bark. It’s so beautiful. I remember once taking a blue pen from my grandma’s junk drawer and connecting the black spots on the bark. I came up with a haphazard bird.


  3. The feeling is subtle & confidential. I like the “whiteness” that sings out loud. And the idea of ;the neighbourhood children. It is a green poem but with such softness.


    • Thanks Irene. I like the whiteness singing aloud, too. There are not a lot of young children in my neighborhood, and no weeping birch close by, either. It’s a fantasy piece that was fun to imagine.


  4. A beautiful poem, Brenda, about one of my favorite trees. I love your first stanza and the idea of the birch selling it’s shade! And your last line is gorgeous:
    “a blur of branches that disappear in morning’s fog as the paper bark, brazen in its whiteness, sings out loud.” A glorious image! We had a magnificent birch tree in front of our kitchen window when I was growing up. It was a perfect climbing tree.

    Do you know Frost’s poem, Birches? Another of my favorites.


  5. I love the smell of Birch in the wood stove but, as I was to discover, I’m allergic to it. I have no idea why. This is a lovely wordle Brenda, reminded me right away of our Birch trees where we used to live, of carrying the wood in from the barn and having to make sure I didn’t get any of the bark from any Birch on my bare hands or arms.
    Fabulous imagery Brenda.


    • Interesting allergy story…thanks for sharing it. I’m glad my piece evoked memories of past activity for you, I want to find some birch now, and take it up to my parents’s place to burn in their stove.


  6. Lovely. I don’t know the wordle words as well as when I write from them [alas, I was unable], but nothing stood out and the poem is lovely in its own confidentiality. I had wondered what the peeling trees next to our pond were. Now I know.


    • You are blessed with the beauty of those trees, Margo (and a pond!). The weeping birch’s water requirements keep them from being plentiful out here. Thank you for reading my work, and sharing your thoughts. I like “lovely in its own confidentiality.” 🙂


  7. Brenda, I love where you took “weeping” with the weeping birch. Such a lovely visual, and setting for your poem. I like “confidential stories” – I’m sure as a teacher you have many – and “visions of tomorrow whispered”.



    • Thank you, Richard. Yup, many stories…I’m sure you have them, too. It’s one of the things that keeps me coming back. Children trust us and share such deep rooted stories. As for the confidential, they know up front with me that I will not tell one other person the stories they write / share unless it involves their safety, or the safety of another person.


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