A tree never screams this 

which is not to say  

the drama of its life 

blazing yellow from fall 

to fall, shaking 

openly for months 

on end, perhaps wild 

in verdant forests 

occurs without a language 

Our minds may fail to comprehend 

the vocabulary of hairy buds 

bursting from having lived invisibly, 

catkin blossoms giving themselves 

to loll, then leaf 

not singly but compounded 

five or seven broad and fragrant times, 
showing teeth 

along green pendant edges, 
 laughing mockernuts, 

 bitternuts-- those tricksters-- 

 and glorious pecans 

 in thin, winged husks. Generosity 

 we surely see; then we cut it 

 down to size, hearing—sugar me 

 for your pies, my sisters' bodies 

 for the handles of your axes. 



It's real, with a name, Floyd, huffing 

hard against the window.  Inside 

my daughter and her friends huddle 

around the counter, toasting bagels, brewing tea, 

surrendering the day to food and Scrabble— 

Such a strange, sweet slumber party 

I say next morning as they take off, 

pouring out some weird sadness,  

the sea falling out of my eyes
and that's a fact, 

how it's old, the salt of it. 



It’s May. The month of peonies. 

The month of watching stems rise 

 inch by inch by foot and soon 

 green leaves are lining up in rows 

 like proper children told that someday 

 buds, tiny tight ones 

 fattening with warmth, will grow up 

 to be flowers  

Here come the ants to lick the glue 

they know it’s time 

to petal forth these peonies 

to the fullness of their power 

A mystery, ants crawling on a roof 

twelve floors above the earth.  

A mystery all birth, the I 

I am and have been for seventy-five years. 

This year I’m staying closer to the dirt 

to cultivate a kinship with what plays there.


Copyright (C) 2012-2018 by Myra Shapiro.All rights reserved by the author. 

3 eco-poems by

Myra Shapiro: I Am a Tree: Look at Me ;   Hurricane ;  The Natural State

Myra Shapiro is the author of I'll See You Thursday (Blue Sofa Press, 1996) and a memoir, Four Sublets: Becoming a Poet in New York (Chicory Blue Press,2007). Her recent book of poems 12 Floors Above the Earth will be published by Antrim House Books in 2012. She serves on the board of Poets House for many years and teaches poetry work-shops for The International Women’s Writing Guild. Myra Shapiro has read her work far and wide and been published in many literary magazines and anthologies.