I Hear With an Accent

by Christine Sine

Pen and Paint Ponderings with Karen and Karen: Art by Karen Tamminga-Paton with reflection by Karen Wilk.

Before you read the reflection below, we invite you to take a moment to contemplate the artwork. Pause and reflect, and notice your own observations about the work and what thoughts it sparks in you. Then read the poem below.

I Hear With an Accent

I hear with an accent

But not so this noble tree

Call it a default

a challenge

My descent,

Upbringing or past–

You have one too.

Mine has an accent,

Sometimes sweet retreat

But bias






Makes me mad,

Makes me sad

Why couldn’t I hear it?

Why did I believe it?

Community prejudice

In gilded frames

Frames too tight for wiggling

For outside the line colouring

For growth and different thinking–

For majesty and mystery linking

to a bigger God

The God who makes little cones into

Douglas Firs

Ancient, regal, divine

Holding many secrets

Including those

beyond our time

Old but ever new

Deep roots

Ever seeking

Ever nurturing, ever reaching

Branches out stretching

To the sky

Soft, fresh needles sprouting


Nourishing little creatures

Song birds singing

Animals scratching

Wise One without words preaching…

Are we listening, hearing?

Why can’t we be more like this grand tree?

Age-old, strong, evergreen, free

Ever changing, growing to be

More and new

Waving, engraving space for scribbles

In gold

And green, orange, red, blues

What might the future hold

How might our lives enfold

If we could only let go

And hear, learn, share multiple accents–

In startling rainbow hues

Like many branches growing each unique and true

All a gift that life and thriving represents

Beyond our limited thinking

not bounded by our clouded contexts.


If I were to listen to the Tree

and more importantly

To the God who made it to be

Our Teacher

What would I hear and be?

Would Creator’s accent set me free?


Creator’s accent

Glorious, expansive

Radiant, vivid, advansive

Brave, and bold, glance of

Young and old

On the left and on the right,

In the middle and in sight

Inviting me


Into the subtlety

Of frameless holy profundity

To scribble in infinity

To play and learn and dance abundantly, 

To be still in Fir Tree’s company–

To change and grow

To know, not know and let go

As I am and will be, aglow

Underneath Creator’s Tree…

Speckled sunlight beams

Underground living water streams



With space

Beyond frames’ measure

All are free– Ancient new fir tree

Golden growing Godly treasure.

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