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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: "In the company of trees"

"When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us:

Be still! Be still! Look at me!"

-- Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

The Pic-Nic, oil on canvas by Thomas Cole, 1846; Brooklyn Museum, New York


Today we share a wonderful poem by Maria Lisella, who was named a Poets Laureate Fellow by the Academy of American Poets in 2020.


Maria is the author of three books of poetry, including Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books, 2014), available at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, and the chapbooks Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press, 2009), and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada, 2009). She also curates the Italian American Writers Association literary series and is a charter member of the online poetry circle, Brevitas.


Maria's poems were featured in our Trolley journal in 2020, and another poem of hers will be published in our upcoming 2021 Trolley.


The Company of Trees

by Maria Lisella


Under my window, a hushed whooshing sound reminds me I may not be alone. They don’t snore but trees creak and groan, slumber and droop as we do at nightfall. Imperceptibly breathing deep in calm darkness when creatures from mice to sparrows fade into nocturnal hideouts ready to rise at the first sign of light, and warmth, some survive plagues and pandemics; inherit the earth. Some subsist on the glue on the back of a postage stamp; they, too, rustle in near silence below my window on this summer solstice night that will brighten into day as if night never came while I waken just as the trees’ branches angle once again to capture the sunlight.