Friday 4 March 2022


Before the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin

by Melanie Choukas-Bradley

Tidal Basin trees laden with bud
Still tight red
With a small flame of greening gold at the tip
To what will you open
This spring?
A world still mad with war and hate
This year—attack on Ukraine
On this cold day
We are as tightly bundled as your buds
Circling the Basin
In hooded wraps, walking under black twigs
Etching all the memorials
Jefferson, FDR and MLK
And an obscure memorial to the
“Forgotten founding father”
Who, along with his fellows,
Forgot to include everyone
War and Peace ricochet
Around the Basin
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”
Blossoms of friendship
Between Tokyo and Washington
Pearl Harbor Hiroshima
“I have a dream”
The sun is setting
A vee of geese flies overhead
Bundled humans return to their vehicles
You will soon bring the magic once more flowering trees
Yet again your blooms a metaphor, never quite real to us
As the tides rise around your roots

* * * * *

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the award-winning author of seven nature books. She lives near Washington, DC where she leads nature and forest bathing walks for Smithsonian Associates and many other organizations. She is author of City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, The Joy of Forest Bathing and, most recently, Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Melanie has been a contributor to The Washington Post and frequent guest on NPR and its affiliates. She began writing poetry during the pandemic. Her poem, “How to Silence a Woman,” received the Writing in a Woman’s Voice February moon prize.

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