The Discipleship of Trees – a poem by Philip C. Kolin

The Discipleship of Trees

They are God’s most faithful disciples,
their rings symbolizing vows of stability

like monks pledging forever
to the earth’s monastery.

They stand firm in their sturdy
wooden sandals and

habits of glossy green announce
they belong to the confraternity of hope.

They provide cathedrals: choir lofts
for brown thrashers and redwings,

storied windows to welcome the sun
on his diurnal journey,

a canopied sanctuary to hold clouds of incense,
and towering arches where stars genuflect.

God sends these disciples out and up
to the cobalt blue of infinity.

Soaring firs and sequoias hear
archangels singing the Psalms

and breathe heaven’s closet breath,
absolving coal-dusted earth for sinful pollution.

Some disciples have cause to be canonized–
those captured and cut down

for crucifixions or those rigged
for lynchings.


Philip C. Kolin, Distinguished Prof. of English (Emeritus) at the Univ. of Southern Mississippi has published nine collections of poems, the most recent being Emmett Till in Different States: Poems (Third World Press, 2015) and Reaching Forever: Poems (Cascade Books, Poiema Series, 2019). He has published more than 350 poems in such journals as Spiritus, Christian Century, America, The Cresset, Theology Today, US Catholic, Sojourners, St. Austin Review, Christianity and Literature, Michigan Quarterly Review, Louisiana Literature, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry,
Emmanuel, and Vocations and Prayer

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