Trees Need Not Walk the Earth

The great novelist Hermann Hesse once wrote, “Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” A poem and an etching echo that sentiment.

Kaddick (1632 x 1088)“Trees need not walk the earth
For beauty or for bread;
Beauty will come to them
Where they stand.
Here among the children of the sap
Is no pride of ancestry:
A birch may wear no less the morning
Than an oak.
Here are no heirlooms
Save those of loveliness,
In which each tree
Is kingly in its heritage of grace.
Here is but beauty’s wisdom
In which all trees are wise.
Trees need not walk the earth
For beauty or for bread;
Beauty will come to them
In the rainbow—
The sunlight—
And the lilac-haunted rain;
And bread will come to them
As beauty came:
In the rainbow—
In the sunlight—
In the rain.”

David Rosenthal wrote “Trees Need Not Walk the Earth”, published in Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920, edited by William Stanley Braithwaite, (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1920). So far I have been unable to discover any information about the author.

Born in Liverpool in 1937, Kathleen Kaddick spent her childhood in Buckinghamshire, whose beech woods and far-reaching views across the Chiltern Hills are the foundation of her etchings. The subject matter of trees and their muted colours is a constant.

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3 comments on “Trees Need Not Walk the Earth

  1. tillyv says:

    Lovely. And I have a coupke of Kathleen Kaddick etchings….

  2. Ben says:

    You say the poet, David H. Rosenthal, lived 1945-92 and wrote the poem in 1920. That chronology is out of whack, no?

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