Michael Gollin
November 2017

There is a complex snag down in the woods,
a dead tree, with seven limbs,
but I can only see it in winter with the leaves down.

Two winters ago,
I thought it was going to fall
before Max’s college graduation.
But it did not.

Last winter,
I thought it was going to fall
before Natasha’s grad school graduation.
But it did not.

I think it will last
until Julia’s college graduation next winter.
It will outlast me.

Autumn rainbow

Autumn rainbow
Michael Gollin
November 2014

Red orange yellow green. Sweet gum pear maple

Red. Japanese maple burning bush morning glory berries dogwood
Orange. mums pumpkin hazelnut
Yellow. mulberry and chestnut
Green. cedar grass pine privet parsley boxwood
Blue. sky
Violet. lilac poke weed

Browns. red and pin oak poplar
White. clouds and house
Black. walnut
Gray. bark

Bird or Tree?


Blue-footed boobies, Galapagos

Blue-footed boobies, Galapagos


Bird or Tree?
Michael Gollin
February 2013
(Apologies to Joyce Kilmer)


Are you a bird that flies around
And roosts where e’er you land?
Are you a tree whose roots go down
And hold you where you stand?

A bird is free to choose a nest
With shelter, flock, and feed.
A tree must grow where fate has blessed
a germinated seed.

Yes, freedom’s good, to see the world
And find what can be found,
But growing strong and holding firm
Means home stays in that ground.

A storm can blow the bird away —
A tree might break, or sway.

A bird can plant a tree by chance —
A tree can house the bird on branch.

A bird can mate.
A tree can wait…

How can we choose?
Must either lose?

I think that I shall never see
Which is more lovely, bird or tree!



2013-07-20 090 (2)

Magnificent Frigatebirds, Galapagos


Natural Herritage

    Natural Heritage

September 2013
Michael Gollin

Sun rays filter through green leaves.
Crickets chirr.
Gentle gnats drift above a log
and spiders’ webs shimmer, waiting.

A rivulet of water winds down
the creek bed behind me in our valley,
where I sit leaning against a tulip poplar,
reading and writing in this temple of Nature,
facing West, and waiting for the sun to set
upwards, through the canopy,
so I can break my fast with my family
and millions of others.

Every tree that ever lived,
every tree that will exist,
will drop one day,
by wind or saw,
slow or fast,
following its leaves in a final Fall.

Do not mourn them,
or not for long.
It is their fate
to reach for the sky,
then descend to the earth
as these pillars of the woods
become lumber, fuel,
or soil for new growth.

My grandparents left their distant homes
for the long crossing here
on a quest to foster a new world.
They came and went like so many more,
and lived and worked and loved
and left us to continue their journey.
On we go, gratefully.