Trees and Seagulls

This poem owes everything in terms of inspiration to Mary Oliver’s poem ‘Wild Geese’
It also borrows heavily from the structure and format of that poem.
I make no apology for any of that.
And I trust that Mary Oliver would approve.


Trees and Seagulls

You do not have to regret.
You do not have to lose yourself
in a frenzy of self-recrimination.
You do not have to surround yourself
with a phalanx of if-onlys, maybes,
what-ifs and shoulds or oughts.

For if you are here at all
you are a survivor.
For if you are here at all
you are where you are meant to be.

You are a person crafted from
your own experiences;
you do not have to pretend otherwise.
Rather celebrate the person
you have become.

Tell me about dark days, yours,
and I will tell you about mine.

Meanwhile the trees outside your window
are being stripped of their leaves
by the cold winds of Autumn,
stripped of their beauty, laid bare
to face the harshness of winter naked.
But they too are survivors.

Step outside, shake hands with a tree,
congratulate it on its ability to endure.

Tell me about loneliness, yours,
and I will tell you about mine.

Meanwhile at the raw junction of land and sea
seagulls fight their way up wind,
climb the updrafts beside the cliffs,
turn, soar away in an expression
of delight at their being.

Step outside, shed perhaps
a tear of joy,
for you are ready to reclaim
your rightful place
in this hard, yet exciting, world.


47 Responses to “Trees and Seagulls”

  1. David, you have wowed me with this poem. And I am sure Mary Oliver would approve. 😊

    In my opinion and it isnt a humble one at all ( Im learning to be confident in this respect, ) this is one of your very best poems ever. I am printing this to keep.

    The title could be of your next book with this as the first poem! 😊

    Love you loads

    • Thank you Christine,

      I am a great believer that if you want to write good poetry then you have to read good poetry. 🙂
      And Mary Oliver is one of the very best.

      As for another book, I say every time I publish one that there will not be another one. But then what would I know!!!

      Love you loads

  2. Hi David,

    a poem that means a lot to me and says it all. I think for me the poem means: Surviving is what matters. We are crafted from our experiences and the ifs and maybe’s are not relevant. We are alright the way we are. No use to think we should have done things differently or that we should have been an other person.

    The loneliness we feel is different when shared, and is no longer loneliness perhaps 🙂 Surviving so far means there is so much to look forward too! And although many trees have to give up in a storm, some do make it and become even stronger. I got it I think 🙂 This poem is all about being positive about yourself. I shall think about it a lot.

    Arohanui and stay safe in storms to come 🙂


    • Thank you Ina for this really thoughtful positive comment.

      I do think you have understood the essence of the poem.
      And if it made you think that much then the poem has certainly worked 🙂

      I do have to go out into the storm soon but I shall take the poem with me to keep me safe 🙂


  3. Reblogged this on Ina and commented:
    A wonderful poem

  4. A masterful poem, David. We all have our influences for our creative expressions.

  5. David, what a beautifully crafted piece of art. I so enjoyed reading this – but then all of your poems promise to take me on the thermals of air you move with the poetry in your fingers. Great poem!

  6. David, this beautifully crafted poem moved me to tears. I have read it again and again. With each reading it touches, caresses, inveigles its way into the cobweb drapped corners of my life.
    Thank you
    Tricia xx

    • Thank you Tricia,

      I love “inveigles its way into the cobweb draped corners of my life.”

      A good poem should do that methinks 🙂

      Look after yourself

      Hugs to you too


  7. Outstanding, David. I love this one! Regards, my friend.

  8. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so they say. You have worked a wonderful poem here.

  9. Superb and powerful poem, David! Excellent and passionate write. Thank you for sharing this one,
    groetjes, Francina xo

  10. Anna Mark Says:

    A poem for sharing our humanity, for celebrating who we are, for surviving who we are, even ; ) I am a cancer survivor, so this poem hits home.

  11. I am so glad Ina pointed me in the direction of this clear and powerful poem of yours, David. I could feel myself strengthening as I read it! Diane

  12. this is so beautiful and full of hope. simply love the ending….masterful. if we could all find the joy of catching the right gust….

    ps: i can’t leave a like from this computer, but its there in spirit!

    • Thank you Eileen,

      I felt when I was writing this the same passion that was present in my early poems when I was writing mostly about recovery.
      It was a good feeling


  13. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words Says:

    oh I most definitely think Mary Oliver would approve…
    Beautiful David…
    I posted her “Wild Geese” not too long ago…
    she is an incredible poetress as you ate an amazing poet…
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts
    Take Care…You Matter…

  14. jo forstrom Says:

    I loved the journey that these your words brought me through.
    And I thank you so much for sharing.


  15. David, I adore this. I think this is probably one of your strongest and best to date. And one I’ll be coming back to re-read, no doubt!

  16. If there must be wisdom in the universe, then let it come inside a craft so passionate that it sings of how you and I relate to each other and find beauty in a world that is sometimes dark and difficult. Let it ring with language as refined as the hands that make a Grecian vase and as direct as your voice, David, speaking directly to my spirit during days so restless that I have no patience for myself or the foot of fresh snow fallen and shining outside our back window. Let us realize poetry that finds joy in the act of survival and discovers wisdom in the veils of delight that wind through lines as surgical as the coming of a red dawn. Ah, David. I do not know if you will see this comment, but, I tell you whether you see it or not, what a poem!

    This is so inspiring–I will refer to this often. Thanks David. Ethel

    • Thank you Thomas, Thank you Ethel.

      I am not sure why this poem came to me when it did. But it was written with a passion which has not been in many of my poems recently.
      I was moved I think by the desire to step outside the mundanity of my every day life and the various health niggles which go with it.
      And to look again at the bigger, wider picture.

      I refer to it myself Ethel from time to time

      My best wishes to you both


  17. Hello David, I admit I’ve not read your work in some time now. When I commented on your site yesterday it reminded me of a man I corresponded with sometime ago; you. You left a profound impact on me then and more so now with this wonderful poem, the first I’ve read this morning. Would like to know if you’ve any books out? I’ve been busy the last year or so gathering old work and writing now work too. In the final editing stage in order to self publish this year; quite the adventure. You’ve such ease in your words, polished and visual. Wishing you all the best and wondering how you’ve been since we last spoke? My very best to you and please ‘tag’ me with any new pieces….Racheal

    • Hi Racheal,

      It is good to have you visit again. I am always delighted to hear from you.
      I do have a new book out – available from Valley Press.
      I will tag you when I post something new


  18. Reblogged this on WordMusing and commented:
    This really quite wonderful – so inspiring – so much life!! 😀

  19. An excellent poem, both passionate and powerful. You have painted a vivid picture here.

  20. powerful

  21. maryamchahine Says:

    Wow! Absolutely powerful and even more so, true! Wonderful ways with words. Every line was crisp. I really felt this poem was talking to me. Thanks for sharing : )

  22. Beautiful. I think Mary Oliver would approve. I love how you compare our harsh experiences to those endured by trees. Wonderful imagery.

  23. So soothing words. Often we tend to be apologetic for what we are. Your words assure me to be confident, not to be ashamed to be myself. And I am not alone. Loved the simplicity of the lyrics.

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