The God Tree

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Katherine Carlman.                                                                                               


The God Tree

A sturdy pine, ladder-like by nature’s grand
design – straight trunk, limbs extended

at angles of ninety degrees, makes an easy
climb for children who don’t mind pitch.

“Let’s go climb the God tree!” they’d say,
one to another, and scurry away in haste.

Up and up and up (and up) they’d go,
climbing as far as daring allowed.

Settling in crooks where branches met main
stem, their talking turned to God.

What enters the mind of a child? To find a tree a fitting
place to speak about the wonders of divinity?

His great glories proclaimed; awe and joy
communicated in hushed, childish voices.

The God tree is no more; cut asunder; dead and gone,
like other things of childhood: cookies and innocence and unicorns.

For one moment, I return. I linger below; I listen.
Above, her intonation, convicted and true.

I can’t hear every word, but I see her soles,
hear her whispers, and I’m comforted.


Katherine Carlman is a wife, mother, and writer. She focuses on travel, parenting, and workplace issues while dreaming about one day escaping to the hinterlands with her husband in a tiny home.

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About the Author

Tim Bete, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page.

Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Tim's poetry has appeared in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Asketerion, and the Poet and Contemplative Blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars (Province of St. Therese). His first book of poetry is The Raw Stillness of Heaven, of which one reviewer wrote, “If you are Catholic and think that you do not like poetry, this book will change your mind.”

Tim is former director of the national writers' workshop at the University of Dayton—a Catholic, Marianist university. He's a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) and often trades poems with his oldest daughter, who is a Dominican Sister. He says she's the best writer in the family.

Tim's writing has also appeared in several editions of the Amazing Grace anthology series (Ascension Press), theChristian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest magazine, and numerous parenting magazines. His latest book is Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

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