Prayers For Trees

By Iris Jamahl Dunkle

At night the light rain whispers prayers through

the tin roof of our barn; prayers not meant

for our sleeping minds or motionless forms.

They are prayers for those last scattering

of pink apple blossoms strewn across fields

like the forgotten confetti of spring

as the gnarled trees stand steady against wind

in the wide green field. Prayers for those trees

as they thicken with green leaves, and gather

the promise of tart, ripe fruit. By morning,

the storm will be gone, the trees near bare of blossoms,

and we will wake without knowing about

the prayers whispered in the dark of night.


Sonoma County poet laureates Iris Jamahl Dunkle and Katherine Hastings will read from their works from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Jack London State Historic Park.

Jamahl Dunkle was named poet laureate by Sonoma County for 2016-2018 and Katherine Hastings served from 2014-2016. Each will share their latest poetry outdoors under the portico at the House of Happy Walls museum. Refreshments will be served.

Dunkle’s latest poetry book, “There’s a Ghost in This Machine of Air,” is about the untold history of Sonoma County, and was published in November 2015 by Word Tech Editions. Her debut poetry collection, “Gold Passage,” was selected by Ross Gay to win the 2012 Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. She is currently co-writing a new biography on Jack London’s wife, Charmian Kittredge London. Dunkle teaches writing and literature at Napa Valley College.

Hastings founded and curates the WordTemple Poetry Series and WordTemple Arts & Lectures and she hosts a radio program, also called WordTemple, on NPR affiliate KRCB 91 FM, in Santa Rosa. Hastings has had poems published in numerous journals and anthologies. In 2011, she published the anthology, “What Redwoods Know — Poems from California State Parks.” Poets in the anthology include Francisco X. Alarcón, David Beckman, Janine Canan, Ed Coletti, Iris Jamahl-Dunkle, Jodi Hottel, Paula Koneazny, Gail Larrick, Hannah Maggiora, Phyllis Meshulam, Lee Slonimsky and Robert Sward. All proceeds were donated to the California State Parks Foundation to support its efforts in keeping state parks open.

Admission to the readings on Sunday is free with park entrance fee or park pass and no registration is required.

Prayers For Trees

By Iris Jamahl Dunkle

At night the light rain whispers prayers through

the tin roof of our barn; prayers not meant

for our sleeping minds or motionless forms.

They are prayers for those last scattering

of pink apple blossoms strewn across fields

like the forgotten confetti of spring

as the gnarled trees stand steady against wind

in the wide green field. Prayers for those trees

as they thicken with green leaves, and gather

the promise of tart, ripe fruit. By morning,

the storm will be gone, the trees near bare of blossoms,

and we will wake without knowing about

the prayers whispered in the dark of night.