Tuesday, May 6, 2014


image borrowed from bing


“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose, comes round in another form.”

One prehistoric moment,
43,000 years ago,
             I was a hunter;
                       a Cro-Magnon
                                as I understand it now.
A monstrous cave bear slew me,
                                and my essence,
                                my spiritual self--
                                                   something I had been
completely unaware of,
                                became a dimensional surfer,
                                existing on multiple levels,
                                spending eons
as teacher, sage, companion, healer & co-creator,
                                                   a black hole diver,
                                                   a  cosmic pilgrim,
& although for me time did not exist, yet
tens of thousands of years rolled by
on this plane of existence.
I began to ache for the earth,
pining for a verdant emotion-soaked adventure.
I became aware 5000 years ago,
embracing some fresh kind of sentience;
I had transmigrated into a new non-human form,
one of the proud genus Pinus Longaeva,
a bristle-cone pine.

I had always been a loner, pariah even,
so this form suited me well, growing
just below the tree line at 9000 feet altitude;
a solitary sentinel in a hoary grove of Ancients,
growing where nothing else could, there
in the Great Basin, between the Sierras
& the rugged Wasatch.

I soon learned to love the centuries creeping
by ever so slowly, like my sap--the cold temperatures,
dry soil, high winds, short growing season ensured
that my rate of growth was blissfully lethargic,
as my Nirvanaic meditation deepened.
What unbelievable joy it became
to be completely aware of the events
on this planet, & yet be impervious to them;
my incredible life form was extremely drout-tolerant,
resistant to insects, weather, wind, & fungi,
my flesh was very dense & resinous. 

Among my kind we also have our spiritual codes.
Our role of non-intervention with mankind, our designation
as Watchers & historians was well entrenched
in our plant mythos--our godhead being Old Tjikko,
a Norway Spruce in Sweden believed to be
10,000 years old; an adolescent Tree of Life.

Kind of amazing to consider that when I was
but a sapling, 5000 years ago, writing had just
been created, & so I have been a non-biased
witness to all of recorded history:

3300 BC--the early Bronze Age.
2500 BC--the great pyramids at Giza.
1500 BC--the sack of Babylon.
  800 BC--the rise of Greece.
  100 BC--the Roman Empire
   800 AD--Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
  1000 AD--Lief Ericson visited Canada.
  1206 AD--the rise of Genghis Khan.
  1298 AD--Marco Polo published his tales of China.
  1347 AD--the Black Death wiped out 50% of Europe’s population.
  1506 AD--Da Vinci finished painting the Mona Lisa.
  1607 AD--Jamestown, Virginia became first permanent colony
                  in North America.
  1776 AD--the Declaration of Independence written in Philadelphia.
  1865 AD--the terrible Civil War was fought to free the slaves, a
                   worthy endeavor even though America is still searching
                   for true equality 150 years later. 

The Atomic Age, the Nuclear Age, the Space Age, the Hubbel
Telescope, the Hadron Collider, the New Millennium Crusades;
all passing before me in review.

I actually have been dead for 200 years, still standing
in my grove, still watching. I know that it is past time
to move on, but the many thousands of years
of continuous residence is difficult to discard,
to just abandon & leave.

Maybe in my next life I will become
the first black woman to be elected
President of the United States.
Now that is an idea. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Brian Miller said...

imagine for a moment that we had to live out life reincarnated as a tree...what an interesting existence as a watcher...weathering the storm...imagine all we could learn too in the passage of time....and from being in the tree...too root deep and be dependent on the elements....fascinating thought in this g...

Anonymous said...

Well Glenn your poem was really well done and you managed to get your history lesson in. Smiles. >KB

Mary said...

Wow, Glenn....that is quite a history. Imagine having stood 10,000 years.

Björn Rudberg said...

what a great way to be reborn a tree.. so amazing what a tree like that has seen.. a little disappointing that they recently found that the oldest tree on earth is a spruce in Sweden.. 9500 year.. and it's still alive.

Claudia said...

smiles.. what a cool idea.. ha - we cannot imagine what they witness throughout their long lives - and gain wisdom in doing so...

Gabriella said...

It always amazes me how much I learn when reading your poem, Glenn. And I like your idea for reincarnation.

Anonymous said...

Awesome idea, trees as historians, non biased - what a concept, eh? Even non-interventionists get dragged into other people's business, unfortunately. Nice work :)

jo-hanna said...

Love this p.o.v. from the trees themselves, and the time-line alongside.
Brilliant idea.
Do you know a dainty tree called the
wait for it: Metasequoia glyptostroboides "Gold Rush"? 100 million years old, so they say.
I bow my head each time I walk past ours. It is a gorgeous larchlike tree. [still small, but who knows how big it can get].

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Glenn, you captured me from first line to last - and WHAT a last!!!! I would LOVE a black woman President! Maybe Michelle will run???? The historical breadth and scope of this poem is so intriguing........I love the long journey prior to being the tree, then of being the tree, and now 200 years dead but still not ready to leave. Fantastic write! you have outdone yourself!

Grace said...

To have lived that long and see history rolling by, such a terrific response to the prompt Glenn ~ I have a great deal of respect for those really old thick trees ~ And your closing line, now that is a wonderful idea ~

Anonymous said...

I loved this perspective, Glenn. And thank you for the history lesson, too! :)

Abhra said...

After I started reading your poem, I took a diversion to read more about Old Tjikko, and was completely lost in the wonderful history, which in turn helped me to connect to your poem and the beautiful tale of evolution.

mrs mediocrity said...

Ha, wow... so much to love about this, I especially love this part "I actually have been dead for 200 years, still standing in my grove, still watching."

Chilling and fascinating all at once.

Anonymous said...

reminds me of an old juniper tree I came across while hiking in the hills of Sedona. It must have been three hundred years old, every leaf sacred.

Sumana Roy said...

What a grandeur you've brought to your lines encompassing a vast time span and closing with a wonderful dream...

Wolfsrosebud said...

solitary sentinel... so many strong words in this... between the folds of time

Anonymous said...

the old voices speak with clarity ~

vivinfrance said...

That is absolutely stunning, Glen. You have set multiple trains of thought seething through my brain - inspiration for eons to come!

Lasha M said...

very true history to show ......... if it could only talk it will even more have stories of stages to hold


Vandana Sharma said...

A very nice story of evolution

Marina Sofia said...

One does wonder what trees think of us... ant-like? petty squabbles? a nice reversal of views here, Glenn.

Mystic_Mom said...

Totally. Awesome. Kick ass. AGAIN! Love the history lesson...and the wry ending.

Truedessa said...

A tree of wisdom through the hands of time it has seen many life changing events.

Anonymous said...

A different kind of reincarnation for sure. Very creative take on the prompt. Thanks. K.