Poems by Patricia Keough Wilson

03

The Tree Climbers

Who knew porcupines climbed trees?

Other porcupines for certain sure,

And naturalists, woods folks,

A long list of kinds of people who knew,
But not me and I am a tree lover.

 

Who teaches baby porcupines,
barely able to waddle to climb trees?

And what’s the object anyway?

Does the daddy porcupine stay
to help weary mom with this task?

Maybe the tree view is a relief
from the tedious dirt scene
when waddling at ground level.

 

There is no lack of tree climbers.

Bears, frogs, raccoons, lizards,
stranded kittens, adventurous boys, girls too
And hunters scanning for deer.
Deer do not climb trees.
Panthers do and tigers,
mysterious, beautiful,
awesome tigers.

 

Birds don’t count.
They land in trees,
create homes in trees,
raise families there.
Well, some woodpeckers
do climb trees once landed there.
Not sure I want to count them.
Snakes slither up trees,
stretching along limbs,
watching and waiting,
for their next meal.

 

And Zacchaeus climbed
a tree, a fig tree,
so he could feast his eyes
on Jesus, who bid that
short-legged tree climber
to come down and draw close.

 

Jesus knew Zacchaeus
was in the fig tree
and Jesus can name
all the tree climbers He created.
Not me. The list is too long,
surprising too.

 

I am not a tree climber.

But as a girl child I
sent prayers up through
the leaves of trees,
tall enough, I thought to
reach God and the heavens.
I never saw a porcupine
in any tree but then I was
entranced by the beauty
of the trees and the One
who created it all.

 

 

 

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