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Winter Trees
David K. Leff


No longer buzzed on chlorophyll or tarted-up with autumn
colors, winter trees are a ragged lot. Few branch out
with the graceful lines of field guide silhouettes. Gnarled,
leaning with tropisms, bulging with goitrous growths,
hollowed and cracked, they’re shaped by disease, struggles
for light and water.

I like walking the streets with skeletal boughs arcing
darkly against the sky as they creak and groan
in a freezing wind. They seem misplaced, hanging
over a manufactured world of cars and macadam,
streetlights, and carefully built houses striving to deny
nature’s trademark imperfection.

My face reddened and parched by January gusts, I duck
into a tavern moist and warm as a greenhouse, smoky
and humming with conversation punctuated by laughter. No
calendar hunks or cover girls are clutching beers
and doing shots at the bar. But among the thin lips, wispy
hair, crooked noses and scarred skin, stories grow like trees.

From Depth of Field (Antrim House, 2010).
Used with the author's permission.



David K. Leff is a freelance writer from Collinsville Connecticut. His essays and fiction have appeared in newspapers and magazines. He is the author of two nonfiction books and two volumes of poems. David is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and served as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for over a decade. He is a veteran volunteer firefighter and was a maple syrup producer for many years. He is also a volunteer high school tutor and a Boy Scout merit badge counselor. David has served on his local historic commission since 1986 and was chairman for 22 years. He sits on the board of directors of Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. He is a long time avid hiker, canoeist and fisherman. He has two children, one in college and one on the way to college next year. Learn more about David and his work at


Post New Comment:
very nice!
Posted 01/09/2011 05:43 PM
Beautiful imagery, words.
Posted 01/09/2011 04:00 PM
wonderful contrast in this poem and interesting word choices. I can feel and see the scene.
Posted 01/09/2011 03:49 PM
Loved your poem today..I too love the winter trees and the locals at neighborhood bars. Great imagery.
Posted 01/09/2011 02:26 PM
I love the twist at the end!
Posted 01/09/2011 01:10 PM
Linda Lee Konichek:
Fresh, new imagery from the first line to the last! My favorite poems are like this, imagery and all the senses come alive! Thank you, David!
Posted 01/09/2011 10:50 AM
Lovely poem with wonderful images. We are all nature, aren't we?
Posted 01/09/2011 10:09 AM

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