Sea of Trees by Michael L. Utley

A golden hued abstract image of a tree with many diamond shaped leaves
Image Source: Canva Pro

To slake my thirst

With dew from leaves that never see the light

Arboreal the tears that fall and quench

The darkest dreams

To fill my bowels

With loam whose cloying scent bespeaks of death

Arboreal the taste of living earth

My hunger begs

To see the gleam

‘Neath tenebrous shadows and rayless groves

Arboreal the blackest night in day

Below the boughs

To run rough hands

O’er scabrous bark and hardened boles and moss

Arboreal the pillars scrape the sky

In breezes weep

The silence holds

Forbidden knowledge

The silence holds

The universe

The silence holds

The truth

The path wends through

This living thing, this thing that sighs and cries

And dies and eats itself a cannibal

Whose roots betray sorrowful sentience

Whose trunks hold back the sky with anguished might

Whose limbs strain forth in melancholy pleas

A beckoning

A reckoning

The path into the gloom is just a path

With littered leaves and lichen on the rocks

And overhead the canopy to keep

The sky from falling down under the weight

Of lifetimes filled with torment and regret

It’s just a path

No need to fear

The forest welcomes me it knows my name

Envelops me in arms of somber green

It sings to me a song of silent peace

It pulls me down the path on wings of leaves

It whispers of a place where I may rest

And leads me there

There are others

Herein among the endless sea of trees

Herein among the caverns and the gulfs

Herein among the secrets and the cries

Which echo faintly in sepulchral voids

Herein where many come and none return

There are others

These are my kin

These shades that linger far beyond their time

And welcome me with soundless empty stares

And follow me along the darkling path

And shimmer as mirages in the air

And fade away as if they’d never been

Into the trees

The silence holds



My personal Aokigahara

My sea of trees my jade remembrance

There is a place just off the path ahead

A place of sodden leaves and broken twigs

And bitter cold that numbs away all pain

A resting place

I am not that boy who saw the sun

I have never seen the sun nor shall

I see only trees


Mike is a deaf writer/photographer who lives in rural southwest Colorado, USA.  His love of nature shines through his poetry and photography, both of which he uses to make sense of his world.

Please visit Silent Pariah to read and view more of his wonderful work.

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Michael’s poetry is a beautiful sadness that finds solace in the company of the green giants of the earth. Trees are like no other living creature, surviving for hundreds of years, their personas are rich in the histories that have played out around them. Their sturdy characters built in the changing seasons, their reassuring shades never discriminating, always welcoming. It’s a blessing to find oneself in the heart of nature where trees are the companions that will always stand their ground – no matter what.
    Congratulations Michael!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Kindest thanks, Terveen, for publishing this piece. The forest can offer succor and solace when we are bereft of hope, but sometimes there’s a darkness there, too, and this piece reflects the hopelessness of those who enter and never leave, a bitter resting place for those whose spirits have faded, for those lost souls who have given up and who will never again see the sun. Here’s hoping the light breaks through the canopy above and illuminates the way for those of us who are lost in the shadows. Thanks again for your support, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I follow his blog and have always enjoyed the power, intensity and beauty of Michael’s poetry. A fabulous choice and election for Masticadores India! Cheers Terveen!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Francisco. Your kindness is so appreciated, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure my friend. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations , Mike. Powerful imagery. Wonderful. Love it!💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks a bunch, Grace. I appreciate your kind words, my friend. Hope you’re doing well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure .💕

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mike ~ you’re so incredibly talented. I love this piece!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Many thanks, my friend. Honestly, this means so much to me. I appreciate you and all you do, good sir! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jordynsaelor says:

    I love the imagery and emotion in this 💚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Jordyn. I really appreciate your kind words of support. Thanks for being here, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Mike! Beautiful writing. Take care my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Hey, Kirsten! Thank you for your wonderful appraisal. It truly means a lot to me to know you enjoyed this one. Thanks for reading and for your constant support. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A pleasure! You’re most welcome my friend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Layla Todd says:

    Loving the evocative imagery in this powerful writing! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks a bunch, Layla. I’m happy to know this one spoke to you, and I appreciate your kindness and support so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mike’s poetry blows me away. This piece is stunning. For me, it evoked a powerful sense of being at peace with sadness and a breathtaking but shaded light. It’s a feeling hard to express, but of course, Mike’s poetry does so beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing his poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Diana. You’ve described this one perfectly: a “sense of being at peace with sadness.” When something is a lifelong companion–even something dark and sorrowful–at some point making peace with it seems like the only way to move forward. Fighting the past, battling dark thoughts, sparring with fears and regrets…all it does is exhaust us in the end. Some things become such an intrinsic part of ourselves that acceptance is the only way to find peace. I live every day with depression and its accompanying array of dark thoughts and sadness. Writing about it offers me perspective and allows me to see the light above the canopy of darkness. Thank goodness for poetry, and for the kindness of people who read and understand. I’m deeply grateful, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you also see the light above the canopy, Mike. Perhaps that sense of acceptance will let more light in. What a relief to let go of the battle and be.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. jonicaggiano says:

    Dearest Mike, you write words that immediately transport me into the trees and all affiliated with the forest. Such a thought-provoking piece, especially since we are killing them so quickly to build bigger and bigger homes. I, too, find peace amongst the trees. Every line is more beautiful than the one before it. This is a spectacular write, and I am sitting here in awe as I read and reread your poem. I feel the loneliness and sadness but the hope that is there too. May I just say that when you talk about the Aokigahara, it is as though I can feel the ending. The line above – “The silence holds,” is brilliant. I, too, found refuge in the trees as a child, and I believe the forest is a living entity with a thought process that does love us and seeks to provide love. It still does for me. We can be so arrogant about the brilliance of God’s creations. Thank you, Mike, for sharing such a beautiful piece of writing with us.

    The ending is so perfect! It is so wonderful to see you again on MasticadoresIndia. You are such a gifted poet. Thank you so much, Terveen for bringing us this gift. Sending you both big hugs, Joni

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Joni. You’re always so supportive and encouraging and I appreciate it so much. This poem actually comes from a dark place, a place of surrendering to sadness and despair, and anyone who has experienced being overwhelmed emotionally by trauma and pain might understand the hopelessness portrayed here. There are so many people who succumb to their pain, who only want to seek a place to rest and find peace. It can be a struggle to see the light filtering through the dark forest canopy of our trauma. Hopefully that light will shine through and we can alter our paths and find our way into the clearing again. Thanks again for your kindness, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. jonicaggiano says:

        You are so welcome Mike. I know that feeling well. Coming from a house where I worried I could die almost any night haven’t been abused so horrible. I have also seen that movie. Bless you Mike. It is hard enough to live with all our senses intact I can’t imagine not being able to hear. I also get a sense that there was abuse in your family too. Your writing is just amazing and I too, have been in a funky space lately. Know this Mike there are compassionate people out there they are just hard to find. You are an amazing writer my friend and I think your work is brilliant. Having said that, I too, always question my writing too. Big hugs and sending prayers up to God. I love and pray for you. 🦋🦋🦋

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Mike U. says:

          Kindest thanks, Joni–your hugs and prayers are more than welcome. Thanks for being here, dear friend. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        2. jonicaggiano says:

          You too Mike – I am a big hugger, strong too. We do bear hugs here in NC. Yes, I have a strong prayer list for lots of folks on line. I prayer for them because like you I truly care about them. Sending you blessings my friend. 🦋🌹🦋

          Liked by 1 person

  10. byngnigel says:

    This piece tugged at my soul. It is so powerful. Yet still it offered peace… acceptance. I enjoyed this Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. This was a difficult piece to write and comes from a dark place. Living with lifelong depression is a struggle, and sometimes the sheer exhaustion can usher in thoughts of finding ways to stop the pain any way we can. The tragedy of the Aokigahara forest is that so many people have found their final resting places there. May we all be able to see the light above the canopy and find our way through the darkness. Thanks again. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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