How do trees inspire you?

Photo of a colourful Rainbow Eucalyptus with the caption ‘Can you believe this tree’s natural colours?’

“What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?”
– Pablo Neruda

Trees talk to me, how do they "speak" to you? Let me know how trees inspire you in the comment box below. Recently, scientists discovered trees talk to each other, but it seems we all like to talk to trees. Thousands of people have been writing to trees in Melbourne, Australia. The council gave each tree an email address so that residents could report broken branches and other damage. But, surprisingly, people have been emailing the trees: they send the trees their love, their admiration and their worries.

Trees are a part of us: they inspire poetry, art, architecture and faith. Our very breath depends on their conservation.

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, we fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness.”– Kahlil Gibran

How do trees inspire you? Reply here

106 thoughts on “How do trees inspire you?”

  1. Good morning,
    I’ve just received your excellent Autumn Caught book and now need to pay you. Could you please send payment details as I’ve inadvertently lost the original email!
    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful New Year.
    Regards,
    Steve Hood

  2. Hi Marchant, my copy of “Autumn Caught” arrived the other day, and I have read it from cover to cover…more than once! I think you have an extraordinary talent, choosing words and metaphors that capture the imagination, capture mood and enhance feeling. I am lucky enough to live within what used to be a Victorian arboretum, our house being part of a converted stable block, so we are surrounded by the most beautiful trees – the autumn colours here are spectacular. Thank you for your work.

  3. I find peace and solitude amongst the trees,I am lucky,I have Wakehurst Place on the doorstep where I can lose myself amongst the beauty of giants,I can hear them,even amongst the silence,I touch them and feel at one with them,Many thanks ,I received the book today,Beautifull,Payment follows,
    Regards,Ant

  4. Just received my copy today. Thank you. It is such a lovely book.
    I have decided to ordermore copies for people I know who will appreciate the words, sentiments and drawings as much as me.

  5. I have rarely heard words so beautiful that they stopped everything around me. Enveloped in what I was hearing some small previously unused place in my psyche fired up allowing me into someone else’s world; a world I had often been in but never seen until now. Stunning; simply stunning.

  6. The pre-0rder/questions page doesn’t work. It wouldn’t accept my name – just kept coming back with ‘this is a required field’ even though my name was clearly typed there. I only wanted to know if this book as available for order in time for Christmas

    1. Hello Kate, I’m so sorry that you have had problems with the pre-order form. The book is available now and I will email you directly. Marchant

  7. My favourite poem is “Hear This”, because I too believe the trees are listening!
    Some people choose to meditate in a quiet dark room, with their eyes and ears closed to the outside world. My choice of meditation however, is to take a walk in Epping Forest or Broxbourne Woods. For me, ancient woodlands are spaces that contain a source of spiritual energy. Where time stands still and where my mind can offload fatigue and negativity. I thrive on the fact that I might not see a sole. That it’s just me and the trees. I feel that the trees are watching me and listening to my thoughts. I am conscious and awakened to all the colours, sounds and smells. Life is beginning, growing, slowing and perishing all around me. Woods are truly magical places and great mind healers.

    1. Trees are refuge-givers: I, too, know that truth. I have and will always find peace in woodland.
      Many people will not get to see the Autumn Silk Wood Trail before it ends but I hope the record online will do it justice. “Hear This” is a personal highlight for me too; in many ways it was the start of the project as I began with the feeling you describe: communicating with nature through silence and “the senses”.
      Thank you for your insights, they are also magical! Marchant

  8. I had the true privilege of visiting Westonbirt Arboetum on Sunday, with a particular interest in seeing your installation Marchant, I was with a dear friend who couldn’t speak more highly of you. I can honestly say that the entire experience moved me in a way that I can’t describe, although what I do now know is I shall never look at or think of a tree in the same way again. What you have created is simply beautiful and inspiring – beyond words, on so many levels. Thankyou.

    1. I am moved by your words, Fleur, and so honoured that you wanted to see my installation personally. You are the one to thank. Marchant

  9. Usually I do not read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

  10. I visited Westonbirt today feeling sad because my wonderful, loving mother died a year ago. The weather was beautiful, the colours of the leaves vibrant and glowing and then I found your extraordinary poems. I read each one several times and, by the time I left, my heart was full of joy and gratitude.
    Thank you for sharing them and I know my mum would have loved your poems too.

    1. Shirley, what an incredible honour! I am so thrilled you found joy in my words. I am truly touched by your message. I would have loved to know her thoughts too. With my best, Marchant

  11. Thank you for your words and for sharing how you experience the world. My 8 yr old daughter, partner and i read them to each other and they enriched are woodland walk.

    1. Hi Sam, I’ve just got a new book which your daughter might love. It’s called “The Lost Words” by Robert MacFarlane. It is a beautifully illustrated book of poetry. Thank you, Marchant

  12. Thought provoking and delightful. The poems I saw enhanced my enjoymentof wonderful Westonbirt Aboretum in the Autumn. Taking time to read them and the accompanying notes on your website was a real pleasure too. Thank you.

  13. Thank you so much for kindly sharing your wonderful poems here and also the references to poets and poems that have inspired you. I love nature and plan to dabble at writing a few lines myself to express that love and gratitude too for all that nature offers. I am glad that I planted some trees in my garden which I and the wildlife enjoy. Wildlife needs all the help it can get at these times.
    Your joy of writing and love of words and wordplay is itself a joy and inspirational.
    PS: is there a book on the basics of writing poetry that you recommend for a start like me?

    1. Good morning, Terry. I have an image of you by your trees but I’d prefer to sit with you by the trees, then the poem would come. So, my advice is to sit by a tree and feel. You are already a poet: wait for the words, they will creep up on you. I will send you my rough notes (to your email address) on how to write a poem for a tree. While they are rough, you might get something from them but no book can tell us how to feel, that is the essence of poetry.

      1. Marchant, thank you so much for kindly sending me your notes which I found very absorbing with much wisdom and advice therein, especially your recommendations about getting physically closer to nature and allowing feelings to arise. It is most encouraging to read that: “You are already a poet”!
        You are clearly very well read with a considerable knowledge of other poets. A couple of books on writing poetry, which I have read, stress the need to read a lot of poems, advice which I warm to but when they go on to discuss technicalities it leaves me rather cold. Recently I have enjoyed reading the poetry of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder.
        I look forward very much to receiving your book and wish you well with your work, Terry.

  14. Really super work, special poetry and unusual use of words to describe the trees, leaves and seeds. It made me think about the trees in a different way. Reading your poetry at Westonbirt gave us much pleasure. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jean, you are very welcome. The trees are poems themselves, each with their own unique structure. Thank you, Marchant

  15. Marchant, I was genuinely blown away by your words, their explicit unambiguous perspicacity. Your writings are truly evocative and inspiring, simultaneously. Thank you for sharing these wonderful insights into your conversations anc reasoning. I truly loved reading them. You are a true redwood in the forest of this beautiful planets poets.

  16. Hi Marchant, I too saw your Poem ‘Tanglefoot’ featured on Autumnwatch and I am completely inspired and blown away by the beauty of your words. I can’t really explain how profoundly they have spoken to me. The shortness of the poems to me adds to their beauty, for succinctness develops a concentration of the vocabulary that makes very word and its placement mean something. I feel they touch something deep inside me which has a meditative quality to them and I will read them many times. Thank you so much, you have a wonderful gift. Mandy

  17. Hi Marchant. My wife and I were so inspired by your words on Autumnwatch and look forward to the book. Never been to Westonbirt but will go in Autumn 2018. Cheers Paul and Angie

    1. Dear Paul and Angie, I’m so glad my poetry has inspired you both to visit Westonbirt! It is a stunning place but I hope the trees near you now suffice ’til next Autumn: every tree has an inner beauty like people.

  18. Saw your piece on Autumnwatch, privileged to have found you and your work. Hallowed is a real inspiration and beacon of hope for anyone struggling with darkness.

    Important work from the soul. Thank you. Keep writing!

    1. Thank you, Simon. It is quite telling how many people seem to connect with “Hallowed”. Everyone harbours darkness in different shades and shapes; it is one way everyone is linked; it is one way you and I are linked. Thank you for your support, truly, Marchant.

  19. I’ve just been catching up with this week’s Autumnwatch and was so captivated by your poetry. I’m taking my laptop to bed and will be clicking on the links to read your poems in full. Can’t wait! You are a truly inspirational, talented young man, Marchant. Thank you for bringing inspiration and beauty to my day. 🙂

    1. Hi Jaynie, I’m reading this on my laptop in my kitchen! Thank you so much for your impassioned interest. With my very best, Marchant

  20. I was at Westonbirt last Tuesday with a friend. We didn’t read the leaflet and so it took us a while to realise that the banners on some of the trees were poetry but we were moved by the last few words of ‘Hallowed’ and suddenly realised it was part of a poem! When we got home we Google and found out more and then that evening, there you and your poems were on Autumnwatch. I have said I would like to buy your book of poems so hope it will go ahead.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you stumbled upon the poems: that is how I intended them to be found! With my best, Marchant

  21. I loved your moving poems which I saw featured on Autumnwatch. It inspired me to think more deeply about nature, and our relationship with it, a living, breathing thing that heals and soothes. I live near the arboretum at Kew, and I love to walk in the woods, but I shall remember to stop, think and gaze more closely following your example. You have an unusual eye for detail in nature that reminds me of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Thank you for this .

    1. Hi Alice, Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of my favourites so, thank you so much for that comment! He inspired me to play with words like “thudburst” and “shadowspill”. Marchant

  22. Marchand, reading your poems this morning in Westonbirt brought your chosen trees to life, giving them character and evoking deep thoughts and emotions.
    As regular visitors to the Arboretum we are delighted that your poetry is being shared with a wider audience in the most appropriate and eye catching way.
    The cleverly designed displays enhanced our enjoyment and experience of this beautiful place. Thank you.

    1. I always wanted my words to be among the trees and for people to find them unexpectedly. I am glad you liked them. Thank you, Marchant

  23. I didn’t spot this question at first: I am inspired by their complexity and diversity. They are simply beautiful yet adaptable, striving to live and grow, even against adversity. They offer tranquillity and provide a sense of perspective; forever changing.

    1. Thank you, Darren. Amy, the artist illustrating my book, is struggling to draw as I write this message … so we know how hard it is to capture trees! Hopefully it will be finished in two-to-three weeks. Thank you for your observations about trees: I agree, Marchant.

  24. Heard your poems on Autumn Watch. I thought they were wonderful. I too identify with trees; I am calmed by them and inspired by them. I try to paint them from time to time, with poor results but I enjoy the process. When will your book be published?

  25. I Love autumn watch but last night’s episode with poetry by you was not only the icing on the cake but also the cherry on top! Beautiful, sublime and truly Inspirational. I can’t wait for your book to come out and i look forward to receiving the email that let’s me know when.

  26. I have just got to say what a wonderful poem from such a lovely wonderful man. I found watching this on Autumn Watch so moving yet absolutley wonderful. You are a very inspiring man. Thank you for sharing your poem.

    Tina

  27. I loved the richness of vocabulary you used in the poems read out yesterday on Autumn Watch. They were so evocative. I would like to read them myself. Are they published anywhere? I wish you every success as a poet.

    1. Hello. I do have an illustrated book coming out in a few weeks. If you go on the website, you can find it in the new section “Book” as a pre-order. But please feel free to read my poems which are all on the website already. Thank you, Marchant.

  28. Hello Merchant,
    You met my dog Henry in Clifton a few weeks ago. It was really exciting to see you on the TV today as I had told my kids about Henry meeting you. Will take them to see the poems in the trees this weekend…v inspiring.

  29. Thank you for sharing with us your truly amazing poems. They are all thought provoking as well as beautiful. I’m so pleased that I found your website (via Autumnwatch).

    In answer to your question at the top of this page:

    How Trees Speak To Me – I think that trees and nature speaks to us all, if only we would stop, for long enough to listen. If I take the time, I hear the breeze in their leaves in summer, and the crunch of leaves underfoot in autumn. In winter, if I listen carefully, I hear them creaking in the wind, and in spring I hear their new leaves unfurling. In my heart I know that all year round, deciduous and conifer, are wanting us to take care of all in this world, including them (the trees) that live with us here.

    They inspire me creatively, in all seasons. They also inspire me to get outdoors and enjoy them, and all of nature that is on my doorstep and beyond 🙂

    Natasha

  30. Marchant, your words root us in our environment, our world, our souls. Thank you so much for creating a rich and vibrant world where we can journey with you. Your poems are inspiring, provoking, challenging and depict the importance of nature for each of us.
    Keep sharing with us, shout from the roof tops, convince the skeptics and forever extol the beauty, value and worth of trees and our natural world.

  31. Dear Marchant.

    I believe you genuinely captured the spirit of the trees in your work. I am so pleased your poetry was showcased in Autumnwatch, because it gave me the opportunity to look at your website and read the research behind such intuitive words. I have studied and drawn trees for many years and now, thanks to you, I will look beyond their beautiful forms and the challenges they face. You have truly inspired me.
    Thank you.

    1. I would love to see your art; I really admire anyone who can capture the beauty of a tree. Thank you for your kind words, Marchant

  32. What a talented young man. As a regular visitor to Westonbirt throughout my life, I really felt your love and understanding of the atmosphere that is there. As a teacher, I also understand the importance of words to inspire, console, reassure. Your words embrace time, history, emotion. Something to hold onto in a world of increasing uncertainty. Thank you Marchant for sharing your gift.

  33. Dear Marchant,

    Thank you for your poems. Your Autumn Watch appearance was also wonderful. My favourite poem is “Hallowed” because I feel that shadows are often the place from which we can understand ourselves best. And the tree canopy always looks spectacular from there too.

    My favourite tree is a yew in Compton Dundon churchyard. We visited the church a lot with our Granny and Pappa when I was younger. The trunk of the yew has hollowed out from the inside, and I remember my cousins and brother trying to squeeze themselves inside! It is one of the oldest yews in England, and Granny tells me that it is often visited by those from overseas. But for me, it is the tree that will always remind me of my Pappa and how much wisdom great age holds.

    Continue to write and inspire, my friend.

    Love, Anna

    1. To my friend: we see all of each other, especially our shadows. “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross M.D

  34. How wonderful, Marchant, that your words are inspiring so many people: you have such a powerful voice as a poet and yet I also love the humility of your words. They do, indeed, ‘unfold’, as you so elegantly express in Hear This. Having returned to the Silk Wood for my second visit recently, I was amazed at how many layers are revealed by re-reading your work. There will be thousands of people sustained and uplifted as they read your poetry. Thank you for freely sharing your gifts.
    Kate Maddock

  35. Hi Marchant, we visited your wonderful exhibition of poetry with Luke. I’ve always loved trees, gazing upwards at the spiraling branches that frame the sky, silent witnesses of time. Your poetry hints at their secret knowledge and captures some of their mystery. This reminded me that only poets have the wisdom to truly express our connection with Nature. I particularly liked Hallowed and the verse, ‘watch the yews paint evergreen on this cloistered eclipse of sky’. What a delightful depiction of natural beauty. The imagery is so fresh and original. Well crafted.

    1. When I am with Luke, I feel calm like being with the trees. Thank you for your beautiful words and your amazing “Sun”.

  36. Well, having met ‘Pirates’ in Cornwall, bumping into you in Westonbirt I now see why you are as famous as you are!!!
    Absolutely magical! The work involved was interesting to read and how wonderful your poems are!!! Loved seeing you all again! 💖💖

  37. Visited the Arboretum with Fiona yesterday. It is amazing to see this collection of wonderful trees, and I always return home feeling renewed, refreshed and calm. Discovering your poems in the Silk Wood made me stop and really focus on the trees you’d chosen. It made my visit extra special. Thank you.

  38. Hi Marchant I will be coming over to see your installation on Friday really looking forward to it. The poems are very beautiful. Could you put a Facebook share button on the poems so I can spread your inspiring work? Well done Fi

  39. I live in Tetbury and visit Westonbirt arboretum most days with my puppy, Bobby. I love to wander amongst the towering, majestic trees of Silkwood just gazing upwards as if visiting a glorious, medieval cathedral. When I first saw your scarlet banners I was caught up in the wonderful imagery of your words. They caught me in their spell summoning up magical pictures in my mind, creating music in the amongst the branches and evoking mystical echoes of the past. What a lovely gift to bestow on us! Thank you.

    1. I love this section of the website, it always changes, Sally. Always new additions, much like Westonbirt. I’m so grateful to everyone who reads my poetry but to sum it up like that is truly humbling. Hope you and Bobby return soon.

    1. I have been so impressed with the children reading my poetry at Westonbirt. I hope your children enjoy the words too. Marchant

  40. There is a wonderful book called “The secret lives of trees” that I would absolutely recommend to anyone who is inspired by them, you will never look at them In the same light again 🙂

  41. I wish we had the chance to work with some of the woods when you were a student at our school but it is clear you see more in their beauty and know about their origin even more than I appreciate when I physically work with them. A trip to Westonbirt is now high on my priorities and I look forward to seeing you again one day.
    Phill Thomas (D.T. teacher).

  42. Fantastic Marchant. Your words as always are enchanting and suffused with beauty. I enjoyed every one and will return to read again.

  43. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Our 6 year old read every single word and loved it…..coincidentally, one of her special topics at school this half term is poetry about autumn, so we’re going to forward your details to her teacher. Fingers crossed they’ll use your words to help inspire the class.
    All the best.
    Tom, Emma (& Eva).

    1. Well done to your daughter, what an amazing reader! If I can help if the school goes to Westonbirt, do let me know; I will try to be there to talk about poetry.

  44. Marchant, thank you. This was a truly remarkable installation of words and thoughts. As a painter I have not seen anything quite as beautiful in terms of colour, texture, form and structure. What you have achieved compares to the greatest of landscape artists from Turner to Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron. Words often say so much more, and within your work you have created an exhibition which is a smorgasbord of delights.

    1. Thank you so much, I am moved by your words. It is very important to me to get an artists’ perspective on my installation.

  45. It’s a triumph, Marchant. Great writing, and very genuinely a conversation with the specific trees, their particular qualities and their intertwined involvement in the human story via medicine, science, technology, culture. And in your story, too. The lines are strong, and the artful presentation makes one very conscious of poetic form – of line length, stanza shape, breath, etc. – in an entirely new way. I enjoyed all the poems, but particularly loved the yew henge of ‘Hallowed’. The last poem, ‘Beech Book’, in its discussion of how the carbon dioxide exhaled in the passing conversation of Westonbirt’s visitors gets absorbed into the trees, to rest there, in the wood – wood from which we make paper, and books, and your resulting word-play on the arboretum as a library, is really inspired. And inspiring. I loved it. I’m also amazed by your energy and vision in bringing this into being. Thanks for the red ticket. Salute!

  46. My grandchildren Theo and Zachary Bright like to hug trees. We will aim to go to westonbirt this Autumn to see your Poems. I’m Marie Days mum , she was your nanny and carer for many years from when you were two along with your mum and others. I am so impressed with how far you have come since then and what you have achieved. You are a wonderful example of how hard work, determination and the right support can give the opportunity to develop and achieve for anyone of any ability level x Sue

  47. WOW!!! This is so amazing !!! I’m so proud of you , you’re such a talented , smart and truly beautiful old soul … Good job team !!!

    1. Thank you Lesley, I hope you enjoy my poems and are able to see them ‘in the trees’ at Westonbirt. Marchant.

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