To celebrate the award-winning red maple at the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Victoria Street, Kate Lehmann invited neighbors to her front lawn for a Poet-Tree party on July 17.
Despite the 90-odd-degree weather, nearly 20 people showed up with tree-related poems in hand and one with bagpipes.
The event kicked off with 10-year-old Simon Harrison-Michaels reading what Lehmann calls “the tree poem of all tree poems”: “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer (“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.”)
Neighbors read work by poets such as Mary Oliver and e. e. cummings; the bagpiper, Anne Kaplan, played a tune about a rowan tree; and they shared watermelon, lemonade and other snacks under the shade of the red maple.
The party was inspired by the maple’s District 10 Como Tree Appreciation Award and the Sidewalk Poem stamped into Lehmann’s walk. “A Gentleman’s Invitation,” written by St. Paul poet laureate Carol Connolly, was placed on Lehmann’s sidewalk several years ago as part of Public Art St. Paul’s Sidewalk Poetry program.
But Lehmann says a garage sale she held earlier this summer was the real motivator for the party: “I enjoyed meeting neighbors who came by” and she wanted to have another opportunity to gather with them.