The Trembling Leaf
© R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.

The aspen thicket

In the glorious springtime

A sight to behold

Not simply calm trees

These living organisms

They quake with the wind!

Have you wondered why?

A leaf so nobly designed

What is its function?

Molecule transport!

Aerodynamically sound

Aspen leaves quaking

In the slightest breeze

Accelerate gas exchange


Through the stomata

Carbon dioxide enters

And oxygen leaves

Nature so perfect

Has a rule for everything

Be it a pine seed

Gyrating to earth

Spinning to give it more lift

To disperse it far

Yet the aspen leaf

Through hidden simplicity

True complexity

On a scale so vast

Teaches human tolerance

To preserve our earth

June 3, 1994

This idea for this poem was in the author's mind long before he took up poetry writing. His major professor, Dr. Harold C. Bold, frequently told him that "Nature mocks at human categories". The author has never forgotten this advice because Nature, indeed, tells us how to live. The simple aspen leaf and its design for improving gas exchange is embodied in the focal point of this poem, as a representation of Nature's seemingly unlimited virtuosity.