Out In Front

This sycamore tree in front of our house weathered Superstorm Sandy.

I love the regal beauty of this tree.  I’m sure it keeps our house 10 degrees cooler in summer. A few of our neighbors have commented that they thought for sure our sycamore would fall in the storm.  Others have said that trees this tall shouldn’t be near power lines.  I have seen the damage caused by uprooted trees and fallen branches.  In our neighborhood, the most damage was caused by trees. We are having a tree expert come and evaluate our sycamore.  I’m hoping he will find it healthy and safe.  The tree has been on my mind since the storm and, so, I wrote a poem about it.



The sycamore stands contained

by the curb, living politely in front of us.

Its roots haven’t erupted pushing the slabs

to swell and crack.  No, unseen they grow.

Down deep into the earth they gather

strength from the darkness.


Atop this base, a trunk, vertical, reaching

skyward, supports limbs branching

to create cool, soothing summer shade.

Yes, it sheds its gray-green bark.

Oddly, this happens in Spring. It seems sick

But it isn’t dying.


Tall, it stands high over our three story

house. Slightly tilted up top but leaning

in different directions, balancing

its dense, rigid weight.  It is king

of this place, laughing at human fears,

outlasting the flowering adolescents


planted generations later in hopes of

being more manageable, short, stout

with symmetrical branches shooting

out from slender trunks that do not shed,

branches ripped from their joints by gale

winds, branches that collapse in heavy snow.


Not so our sycamore.  Storms prune

its branches and remove the dead leaves.







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