What are trees for?

What are trees for?

They lift your gaze up from the ground, and draw it to the skies

Your soul will follow, grateful.

Their roots are deep, they will not move

They bear our biting axes and fall before our saws.

If we leave them standing, they will shape a bridge,

From earth to what’s beyond,

From what, to who we are.

They’ll catch the light and hold it tight

So we can gaze upon it,

They’ll dance for us,

With wind they’ll bend

and swing to ceaseless music.

And if we’re tired, they’ve sprinkled piney needles on the ground

A curving shallow scented nest where we can rest and breathe.

Climb up!

Embrace the trees that root and stand and sing and dance before you.

They’ll share their treasures with you, take you far beyond your dreams.

Terrie Rolph


Once, I caught a Schipperke
She leapt up from the grass
To where I rested in the sun,
Warm on a granite boulder.

She leapt into my arms,
quite by accident, of course.
No Schipperke would ever
let herself be caught on purpose.

I closed my arms around her,
my heart climbed up my throat.
I knew those little black dogs
were the Faery’s favoured form
And if you catch a Schipperke
They’re forced to grant your wish,
So I whispered in her furry ear
My selfish deep desire,

That we might stay together now, forever.


The sun draws her fingers
Across the clipped lawn,
In a farewell caress.

The breeze tousles the trees,
A dragonfly holds tight.

She knows

Sometimes I wonder if she’s trying to tell me something.

Something I’m not keen to know
I pay attention to her anyway
She wobbles
More than I like.
Then leaps across two couches like
a puppy.
The grey mask spills across her muzzle,
And dribbles across her chest.
She’s thin.
But eats like a lion.
Her morning fierceness
Barks and bites me out
of my warm bed
She’s not trying to tell me that
She hasn’t much time left,
I know that.
She’s not trying to remind me,
To cherish our moments,
I do that.
I love her and she owns me,
I hope she knows that.

The Queen

She sleeps
In the fullness of knowing
is the queen.

She barks,
In the fullness of knowing
She is,
the queen.

The huntress of vermin,

She snaps
her mighty jaws.

She sleeps
In the fullness of knowing
She, is
the queen.

The Price

The closer we get,
The deeper we love,
The longer we travel

The greater the pain,
The deeper the loss,
The day we must travel

Devil in the Morning

She stirs and wakes.
Steps unsteadily up my prone body,
calves to neck, on
stiletto paws that press dents
into my protesting flesh.
“Wake up!”
Her muzzle burrows deep into
my eye sockets,
I squeeze my eyelids tight; it’s
futile, hiding.
Still, I twist my head away and
pull the covers over.
“Get up!”
I roll her off my chest
as I do every morning,
She knows the complicated steps,
dodges away and shouts,
Nose drives in,
snuffling through the blankets
for skin, she
furiously starts to lick,
raising the dead, or bringing life
as if I were her puppy.
My hand pushes, blind helpless
against her but she flops, unresisting.
I ruffle her fur, circle the edges of a
soft tumour on her belly
she’s lived with for years
defying dire prognoses.
I pray she’ll let me sleep;
I know she won’t.
For years
she’s practiced this dance,
and patiently taught me the steps
She snorts and roots again through the quilt.
Giving up, I throw it off,
my feet find the floor
to where she already stands,
grinning, gap toothed,
paddling from side to side,
her mutilated butt, wriggling,
her fogged up eyes, sparkling
she smiles,
“Good morning!”

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