My tree friend

I subscribe to poem-a-day (https://poets.org/).

Today’s poem is “To the Pine Tree” (which can be found at the end of this).

That reminded me of the blog post I had written in 2019 about my tree friend.


August 26, 2019:

I just returned from an amazing event, the National Network Assembly, held at the Des Moines YMCA Camp near Boone, Iowa. From information about the Assembly we received ahead of time, I knew I wouldn’t have WiFi or cell phone access, so I didn’t even bring my laptop. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post though, there were so many things I wanted to write about and I was missing my (nearly) daily writing, so I wrote two blog posts by hand.

As I sat in Quaker Meeting yesterday, at Bear Creek Friends meeting, which is in a rural setting, surrounded by trees, the image of my tree friend appeared, illuminated by the Inner Light.

Bear Creek Friends meeting near Earlham, Iowa

One thing we talked about at Meeting yesterday was the upcoming ceremony of the planting of two memorial trees on the grounds of the meetinghouse to honor the memories of a married couple who were members and elders of our community.

8/31/2019 Knight tree planting

Please Note: Since I wrote this, Lance Foster told me the land was Ioway land before the Dakota or Meskwaki were there.

To the Pine Tree

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft – 1800-1842

Audio recording of this poem:

Zhingwaak! Zhingwaak! Ingii-ikid, – Pine! Pine! I said,
Weshki waabamag zhingwaak – The one I see, the pine
Dagoshinaan neyab, endanakiiyaan. – I return back, to my homeland.
Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! – The pine, the pine my father!
Azhigwa gidatisaanan – Already you are colored
Gaagige wezhaawashkozid. – Forever you are green
Mii sa naa azhigwa dagoshinaang – So we already have arrived
Bizindamig ikeyaamban – Listen in that direction
Geget sa, niminwendam – Certainly I am happy
Miinwaa, waabandamaan – And I see
Gii-ayaad awiiya waabandamaan niin – He was there I saw it myself
Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! – The pine, the pine my father!
Azhigwa gidatisaanan. – Already you are colored.
Gaawiin gego, gaa-waabanda’iyan – Nothing, you did show me
Dibishkoo, ezhi-naagwasiinoon – Like that, the way it looks
Zhingwaak wezhaawashkozid – Pine he is green.
Wiin eta gwanaajiwi wi – He is beautiful
Gaagige wezhaawashkozid. – Forever he is the green one.

Copyright © 2020 by Margaret Noodin. Reprinted with permission of the poet. All rights reserved. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 14, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets. 


“To the Pine Tree” appears in When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (W. W. Norton & Company, 2020).

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was born in 1800 in Sault Ste. Marie, in the northern Great Lakes region of what is now Michigan. She grew up speaking both Ojibwe and English and began writing poems in both languages as a teenager. Schoolcraft was the co-editor of The Muzzeniegun, or Literary Voyager and is considered to be the first known Native American woman writer. She died on May 22, 1842.


My tree friend at the National Network Assembly, Boone, Iowa, August, 2019

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