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Friday, January 6, 2012

A Poem: If You Were Rock and I Were Tree

Periodically I write poems.  This morning, as I was sawing trees in my back yard, it occurred to me how long it takes to grow a tree limb.  Trees move, ever upward, but their growth is so slow that we humans don't think, mostly, about that fact.  Same with rocks.  Over eons, rocks grow and change, yet even more slowly than trees.

Our perception is that our own lives are long, drawn-out affairs.  But if rocks could think, they'd laugh at our view of them as stodgy, growth-less things.

I never knew my two grandfathers.  As I sawed through the fallen-down tree limbs, I thought how nice it would be if my two grandpas and I could hang out for even a few precious hours.  But then I thought, as I was cutting wood and walking over rocks, if granddaddy Dutcher and granddaddy Heydrick had been rocks, and I a tree, our temporal paths may well have intersected here on earth for even a few "brief" hours.  I put the "brief" in quote because I wonder what our human time would look like to hummingbirds, whose tiny wings beat so frenetically.

Here's the poem:

 If You Were Rock and I Were  Tree

Consider hummingbirds,

how fast they fly,

while humans

go lumbering by.

Consider the stately redwood,

how seeming slow it grows,

but truly fast

compared to slow-grown rock.

You are "old"

and I am "young,"

but if you were rock

and I were tree,


how fast,

I'd catch up to thee.

     bob dutcher, january 6, 2012


  1. I like your poem, Bob.
    Spare of words,
    but rich in imagery, insight and wisdom....
    Your poem reminds me something of e.e. cummings would have written.
    Thanks for sharing it.
    Best wishes-
    John Montalbano

  2. Thank you, John, for your kind words. WHile I would never presume to put myself in the same class as e.e. cummings, I do agree the poem was, as you said, spare. Your Comment was also spare and, to me at least, a rich treasure.
    Thank you, my friend.

    All best,


  3. You're welcome, Bob.
    Being a two-finger typist lends itself to being spare with words!
    Unfortunately, I never had typing in school.
    I envy people who are fast typists, like you are.
    My mind works much faster than my fingers!
    John Montalbano

  4. Bob-

    Here's one of the poems I had to memorize in elementary school.

    My favorite lines are:

    "Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree."

    Keep writing, and sharing, your poems!




    I THINK that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    A tree that may in summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918)