The Ginkgo Tree

C. Patrice Ares-Christian is a graduate student earning her Ph.D. in Asian American and African American literature. She is a lifelong writer and lover of trees. She is also an unashamed bibliophile. If you know her long enough, chances are you will hear her burst into random bits of song. She also loves to garden and cook. Recently disabled, she is finding her voice again and learning how to live her life to the fullest, one day at a time. The loves of her life are her husband, Isaiah, and her Yorkshire terrier, Sir Gawain.

The Ginkgo Tree

Questioning the Ginkgo
Yínguò, bái guŏ, yìnxing.
Silver fruit, white fruit, silver apricot.
What mysteries do you hold,
great tree from ancient days?
And where have you hidden for centuries?
I imagine you beyond the Peach Blossom grove
with the fisherman and boys,
in a land of flowing waters
where mortal men do not exist.

The Shadow of the Ginkgo
Darkness falls in stilted lengths,
forms crooked images upon the ground
on a hot Friday afternoon.
This tree is protection from the sun,
cooling that man who walks past, never looking up.
Li Po and I lean against this living bark,
sip wine and finger green fan-like leaves.
We recite poetry and remember T’ao Ch’ien.

The Immortality of the Ginkgo
Tree of ancient days, my soul drinks in your spirit.
Your aged roughness forms patterns beneath my fingers.
Those Buddhist monks who first pruned you in quiet gardens
whispered their thoughts to you.
Share your wisdom with us.
What is the secret of your immortality?
What Primal Stuff are you made of
to flow with the Path since time’s birth?

4 thoughts on “The Ginkgo Tree

  1. Beautiful! I could sense the power, calmness, and everlasting nature of the tree. I took a deep breath on “drinks in your spirit”, as if I too could receive healing from the tree instead of taking its vitality for granted as the passerby.


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