Memoir National Poetry Month Nature Poetry Writing

7 – Tribute: Sargent’s Weeping Hemlock

A most graceful dense mounding shrub with broadly spreading branches that create a weeping effect with the deep green, finely textured foliage.

What would the old tree say
of her current predicament —
wedged between the state road
and the utility substation,
her circadian rhythm
forever disrupted
by the flashing traffic light,
her water source, runoff from the
nearby shopping plaza

More than a century ago,
she lived here on farmland acres,
and they named her Weeping
despite her attributes —
a vernal fountain of perpetual joy
she, a specimen, divine
fated to become more beautiful
a champion of time

But the hour is cruel
marches against the Sargent’s desire
changes our perception of beauty
sephos, Sepphōra, Sephora®

Her graceful curves and
fountain sprays of green
have grayed, and she is deaf
to the song of her breeze

She is not long for this world
— and probably for the best —
we insist ourselves so loudly now
even the bees are grieving.



Photo by Mary Johnson. Poem ©2023, Jen Payne Inspired by the Weeping Hemlock near my house in Branford, CT. Read more in “Weeping Hemlock Gets TLC” by Marcia Chambers (2012), and “Closing the Book on Sargent’s Weeping Hemlock” by Peter Del Tredici, Arnoldia magazine. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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