100 Reasons to Plant a Tree

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Add them up and there must be 
one hundred reasons to plant a tree: 

The buds of May inlaid with dew.           1 
The verdure of the summer leaves.       2 
Winter twigs -a filigree                           3 
against the sky’s gunmetal hue. 
Refreshing shade when days are hot,   4  
and autumn colours -red and gold.        5 
Rot down leaves to make leafmould      6 
and mulch it round your veggie plot. 
They’re shelter from the rain and hail.    7 
They rustle in a gentle breeze                8 
but make a windbreak in a gale.            9 
There’s a hundred reasons for planting trees. 
Planting trees can make you healthy.   10 
Plant a tree and put down roots.           11 
Planting trees can make you wealthy   12 
if you sell the fruits. 
For volunteers it’s pure enjoyment.       13 
Lonely people meet new friends.          14 
For forestry workers it’s employment.   15 
Young offenders can make amends.     16 
For students it’s an education.               17 
For tree-dophiles it’s masturbation.       18 
Give a park some art and culture 
with a living willow sculpture.                 19 
or maybe a pleached hornbeam hedge 20 
will smarten up your driveway’s edge, 
or plant a weeping willow tree 
to make your garden look Chinese.       21 
They instigate precipitation                    22 
by a process called transpiration. 
They’re home to many types of primate: 
gibbons, gorillas, chimpanzees.            23,24,25 
They’re a carbon sink, which helps the climate. 26 
There’s a hundred reasons for planting trees. 
Tree roots prevent erosion.                     27 
Mycorrhizal fungi fix nitrates in the soil.  28 
Trees provide natural antiseptic lotions  29 
such as neem and tea tree oil. 
Ashamed of belonging to the jet-set? 
Plant some trees as a carbon offset!       30 
Big polluting industries 
green-up their image by planting trees.    31 
The shady leaves of the London Plane 
keep the city air much cleaner.                 32 
Oak-aged sherry comes from Spain.        33 
In Greece the pine trees make retsina.    34 
Birch sap wine and maple syrup              35,36 
are local specialities, 
like Bavarian Ham from Central Europe,  37 
cured in the smoke of wood, from trees. 
Mulberry trees are the source of silk.       38 
Trees give shade to coffee plantations.    39 
There’s palm oil, raffia and coconut milk. 40,41,42 
Burn the wood in a power station               43 
to generate sustainable energee… 
There’s a hundred reasons to plant a tree. 

Think of Christmas with no Christmas tree 44 
nor sound of log fires crackling!                  45 
There’d be no work for royalty                    46 
were they never asked to plant a sapling. 
Wood for window frames and doors,          47,48 
rafters, pillars, walls and floors.                  49,50,51,52 
Most of the produce exported from the tropics 
is grown on trees… but hey!... don’t knock it 
…imagine a world that had no chocolate!   53 
Genuine corks that aren’t made of plastic,  54 
rubber, charcoal, aspirin, mastic,                 55,56,57,58 
the tannin used in tanneries                        59 
…all these products come from trees. 
Even the sheets where I scribbled this poem 60 
were once just bundles of xylem and phloem. 
Build a sturdy wooden bridge.                     61 
Line an avenue with Wellingtonias.             62 
Plant a fifty-foot-high beech hedge.             63 
The General Sherman in California            64 
is the largest living thing on earth. 
Plant a tree to celebrate a birth.                  65 
A memorial tree for the dear departed        66 
and a willow casket for the body                 67 
can be a balm for the broken hearted. 
You’ve read the books of Oliver Rackham, 68 
twitched the treetops with Bill Oddie,          69 
bewitched by Springwatch while Chris Packham 
talks tree-talk with Michaela Strachan.        70 
Coppice a tree and it sprouts again.            71 
Polish the wood to see the grain.                72 
Since flies were fossilized in amber 
tree rings have tracked the passage of time. 73 
They’re a makeshift clothesline for light-weight campers 74 
and something little boys can climb.           75 
Children love a game of conkers.               76 
Lovers kiss beneath an arbour.                  77 
Nutty squirrels go totally bonkers               78 
stocking up their winter larders. 
Trees are features in the landscape.          79 
Trees are landmarks, 
and those moments                                    80 
when you’re lost, a tree is handy 
to climb and see which way is homewards. 81 
Tree huggers need something to hug.        82 
Birds need trees to make their nests in.      83 
Trees are great for wood-boring bugs.        84 
Owls need hollow trunks to rest in.              85 
His father’s tree upon the ground did 
make George Washington an honest bloke, 86 
and Charles the First escaped the Roundheads 
hiding in the Royal Oak.                              87 
Newton’s ideas gained gravity                    88 
through sitting under an apple tree.
Birnam Wood dismayed Macbeth.             89 
Tarzan travelled by liana.                           90 
Lord Buddha mused on life and death 
beneath a tree and reached Nirvana.         91 
Winnie the Pooh lived in a wood                92 
with his little friends. 
The Major Oak sheltered Robin Hood       93 
and all his Merry Men. 
Envisage the embarrassment of Adam and Eve 
if they’d had no fig tree leaves!                  94 
A nectar source for honey bees.                95 
Carve a religious effigy.                             96 
Define a property boundary.                      97 
Give yourself some privacy.                      98 
Maintain the timber industry.                     99      

…and of course, the one hundredth reason to plant a tree: 
it inspires my fantastic poet-tree!             100


◄ Accidents Will Happen

Guisecliff Crag, August ►


<Deleted User> (19913)

Sat 18th Aug 2018 10:34

I absolutely LOVE this. Superb effort.

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Tue 17th Apr 2018 03:28

such a work of art.
thank you for sharing.

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Rick Varden

Fri 26th Jan 2018 16:05

Cheers Tim, 100 reasons why we don’t all need ‘Contemporary artistic abstract poetry’ to get some recognician. Urban poetry like this is my bag, this poem is a treasure bag which will last forever.

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J R Harris

Mon 22nd Jan 2018 10:33

Thanks Tim, As an environmentalist I really enjoyed this poem. And, as Lord Orrerry once said (1749)...
"Trees are the best monument that a man can erect to his own memory. They speak his praises without flattery, and they are blessings to children yet unborn."

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Tim Ellis

Mon 15th Jan 2018 10:12

Thanks Colin. I'd been planning to read this at my local open mic last year, and quite by chance a friend who was up before me made a comment about how ironic it is that no word rhymes with "poem". So I got a big laugh when I got to no.60!

<Deleted User> (13762)

Sat 13th Jan 2018 16:47

also a hundred reasons for enjoying this poem Tim. Thanks for reposting and for the video too. My favourite is No.60:

Even the sheets where I scribbled this poem
were once just bundles of xylem and phloem

all the best. Col.

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Tim Ellis

Sat 13th Jan 2018 13:50

I've posted this poem before on WOL a couple of years ago, but I'm giving it another airing because I spent a very long time just before Christmas making a video of it, which I think deserves more than 9 viewings! (Obviously I am biased in this matter.) Here it is https://youtu.be/X_X5fmaq5PA

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