"The Dryad" by Evelyn De Morgan‘Chasing Dryads’ by Julie Desmond The Society February 24, 2021 Beauty, Poetry 15 Comments . As a child, they could not keep me from trees And craggy, tangled limbs and aching arms. I loved the camouflage, the filtered breeze, Nose-smacked tang of moss and far-off farms. Grandma’s had a crook just right for hiding. I savored hard-won silence in my perch, Nursed calloused hands, imagined higher climbs; A flip-flop dropped to quash Mom’s frantic search. Dad’s towering Sequoia, lofty trophy For hours of tortuous travel up the coast; Eyes ascend the spine of something holy, A castle crowned in eagles, stars and ghosts. Now, palming gnarled bark, this leathered skin Cannot resist the rousing, reckless quest To chase and play where only heaven’s been, When trees goad me to climb, to hide, to rest. . . Julie Desmond is a writer and career coach living in the heart of Minneapolis, MN. Her poems have appeared in Lower Stumpf Lake Review and Diotima and she has published two books of creative nonfiction. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 15 Responses Sultana Raza February 24, 2021 Love the imagery and the sentiments expressed in the poem. Reminds me of friends and relatives who loved to climb trees. Reply Julie February 24, 2021 Thank you, Sultana! Reply Paul Freeman February 24, 2021 As a former tree-climber (horse-chestnut trees for conkers in the distant past), I can get behind the sentiment of this lovingly nostalgic piece. Thank you, Julie. Reply Julie Desmond February 24, 2021 Thanks, Paul. My grandkids find it pretty funny that I ever climbed trees! Reply Gail February 24, 2021 Isn’t astonishing how infrequently people look up? In addition to trees, I used to climb out my bedroom window and sit on the roof of the front porch, mostly unnoticed. People who walk at night forget that, though they can see no one, they are not necessarily alone; someone may hear. Tree climbers everywhere would love your poem. Reply Julie Desmond February 24, 2021 Thanks, Gail. I love the mystery and possibility of trees. I appreciate your comments! Reply Marie February 24, 2021 As a kid who climbed trees to escape my huge, crazy family, I love how your poem brings me back to those moments of deep comfort that I now appreciate as an old lady. Thank you! Reply Julie Desmond February 24, 2021 Thank you, Marie! Reply Margaret Coats February 24, 2021 The first three stanzas offer a pleasant childhood memory, extending in the last to a more sophisticated dryadic conclusion. I especially admire the expression, “palming gnarled bark,” which suggests that the speaker’s now-leathered skin (much more bark-like than the child’s calloused hands) has lost feeling except in the softer inside area of the palm. The woman who still can’t resist the quest for the heights of trees seems to be in the process of becoming one. The tree-attraction goads not only her continued chase and play, but even her poem’s final words, “to climb, to hide, to rest.” Only there within the trunk does the chase cease! Well done. Reply Julie Desmond February 24, 2021 Thank you! Reply Peter Hartley February 25, 2021 Julie – This certainly brings back strong memories for me of my nest-robbing days as a child, at a time when the law was much more lenient for certain black-listed species (although unthinkable today). Magpies were easy game because they almost invariably nest in hawthorn bushes in the UK, but rooks were the prize, nesting as they did in the very crown of a 60-80ft elm or beech tree where you often had to distribute your weight between two or three branches that wouldn’t individually support your weight. My favourite line in your poem is the first of the fourth stanza with its palming gnarled bark and a grave accent on the e of gnarled would be useful I think. But the whole poem is vg and very evocative. Reply Julie Desmond February 27, 2021 Thank you for sharing these memories, Peter. I appreciate your comments. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant February 26, 2021 I absolutely adore this poem, especially the delicious line; “Nose-smacked tang of moss and far-off farms” which has my senses reeling while taking me back to the gnarled trees and skinned knees of youth. Bravo, Julie! Bravo! Reply Julie Desmond February 27, 2021 So glad you enjoyed this. Thank you! Reply Julie Desmond February 27, 2021 Thank you – so glad you enjoyed this. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.