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The Dream Tree

Dreamed May 1997 by Roswila [aka: Patricia Kelly]


Not only do I love trees in waking life, but they are companions in my dreams, as in the poem below, based on a dream I had in May of 1997:


I have no roots. No stories
of the Old World from the Polish
grandmother who scrubbed floors
to feed and educate her daughter,
her history held in a proud
compensating silence.

I have no roots but those I steal.
No cradling web of stories about
the mother dead as I turned ten,
my family's silence more final
than her dying.

I have no roots but those I steal
in dreams of the Irish father
and grandmother, the grandfather
and great-grandparents, who struggled
in vaudeville and commerce,
the Great Depression and two World Wars,
yet dropped only the rare fact
in the same few oft-repeated stories,
leaving me to milk my dark intuitions
for sustenance.

I have no roots but those I steal
in dreams from trees:

My father, doubly transformed
by death and dream, guides me
to a clearing in the wood
where grows an enormous
softly glowing tree, at which
he gestures saying
"Look to your Mother."

Deeply awed, I inhale gratefully
of Her timeless silence.


The refrain is what haunts me. "I have no roots but those I steal." For so many of us Americans, our ancestral stories weren't just passively lost but actively censored or withheld--painful, shameful, old-World, old-fashioned. Or, of course, not censored but cast off--we plugged our ears, knowing in our adolescent wisdom that what we'd hear from elders was unpleasant and irrelevant to our peer-led lives.

Roswila focuses here on family. But it seems to me we've uprooted ourselves from more than our ancestors. Isn't this shining Mother Tree rooted deeper than just... grandparents? Nature herself. A billion years of evolution whispers in our every cell. If we listen.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: family - ghosts and revenants - dream dads - dream moms - trees - weird dream beings - dryads and other nature-spirits - paganism, Wicca, the Goddess and Gaia - more Roswila - dream poems - a second Mother Tree, in Deanna on the Mayan Steps - two trees speak up, in Telepath Trees - Ragnhild dreams of her people as a tree - Al Davison dreams the tree of renewal grows from Ground Zero

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