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Remember: a poem a day keeps the doldrums away!

My Daughter Says
Joe Cottonwood

My daughter says

every tree has a soul.

Some are good, some are bad.

But always, a soul.

My daughter is young enough

to know these things.

My daughter says also

some trees have a spirit.

(But only the good trees.)

People, too.

She is old enough 

to say these things.

Guided by spirit, we can grow 

from the crack in a boulder.

We can lift sidewalks.

We bend and yet are strong.

We flower, we bear fruit, we give seed.

We are where the raccoon sleeps, 

the hawk nests, the monkeys play.

Without the spirit we twist, 

we wither, we break.

With the spirit our roots take hold. 

My daughter knows. So young, so old.

This poem first appeared in Dove Tales.
Used here with the author's permission.





Joe Cottonwood has worked in the building trades for most of his life: carpenter, plumber, electrician. He’s also worked as a writer throughout his life, publishing, as he puts it, “a bunch of books, but never hitting it big.” Originally from Maryland, with a definite bias toward things Appalachian, Joe eventually moved west to the “California boondocks,” where he built a house under redwoods on a mountainside, raised a family, and remains there today, still living with the same woman for half a century and playing with the grandkids. Learn more about him at




Post New Comment:
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this poem. It is so powerful, full of metaphors, unique images and wisdom. The last stanza is brilliant. And yes, children are wise and we can learn from them.
Posted 01/18/2017 08:01 AM
Larry Schug:
The daughter always knows, the poet pays attention.
Posted 01/18/2017 07:28 AM
Very nicely done!
Posted 01/18/2017 06:57 AM
This wisdom grows upwards.
Posted 01/18/2017 04:28 AM
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