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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 186 words
By Roseanne Freed

The tree which moves some to tears of joy,
is in the eyes of others only a green thing

—After William Blake*
Nemophilist, an ancient Greek word 
for a haunter of the woods, 
is a perfect way to describe 

my daughter. Instead of weeping 
for her, I’m going to dry my eyes, 
and take her two children hiking. 

I’ll teach them everything I know. 
Everything she taught me. 
She knew about shinrin-yoku 

long before the rest of us rushed 
out for our forest-baths. She knew trees 
were sacred givers of life and keepers 

of wisdom. On every walk in the woods 
she’d greet the plants and trees, 
asking them for guidance and healing. 

Gingko leaves are fan shaped, 
Bodhi leaves look like a heart, 
Pacific Hawthorn heals cancer. 

It’s thanks to her I am friends with 
chamomile, yarrow, and dandelion. 
She taught me to ask permission 

of a plant before picking, to never pick 
the entire crop—leave half for next 
year—and to always say thank you, 

even when picking stinging nettles. 

—For my daughter Mahalia.
May her memory be for a blessing.



*Publisher’s Note:

Title of poem is from a letter by William Blake in which he wrote, “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way.... As a man is, so he sees” (quoted in “William Blake’s Most Beautiful Letter: A Searing Defense of the Imagination and the Creative Spirit” by Maria Popova in Brain Pickings [14 July 2016], now renamed The Marginalian).

Roseanne Freed
Issue 14, August 2022

was born in South Africa and now lives in Los Angeles. She loves hiking and shares her fascination for the natural world by leading school children on hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. Her poetry has been published in Contrary Magazine, Verse-Virtual, ONE ART, and Blue Heron Review.

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