The Weeping Willow

a weeping willow in the summer garden
a weeping willow in the summer garden | Source

My poem in the Chinese Jueju form:

Sensuous Willow


The trembling silvery leaves shiver.

Limbs bend with supple ease.

The breeze advances, then retreats

In an endless tantalizing tease.

_______

Catherine Tally 2013- all rights reserved.


Water  beautifully reflects the weeping boughs of a  willow tree..
Water beautifully reflects the weeping boughs of a willow tree.. | Source

The weeping willow, Salix babylonica, was brought to the Western world from China in the 15th century. It gets its genus name from the Celtic word sallis: "sa" meaning near and " lis" meaning water. The species name babylonica originates from Psalm 137: "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the willow trees we hung our harps." The trees were actually poplars, but the botanical name still stands today whereas the Bible passage has been corrected in some modern versions.

Like all willows, the sap from the tree's bark contains salicylic acid which is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. References to its medicinal properties go back to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and North America. The white willow, Salix alba, is best known in the development of aspirin and its more modern derivatives. Willow bark is still used around the world today in herbal formulations.

This beloved shade tree has a short trunk and long, graceful, weeping branches. Willows grow best where there is ample water and were often planted near ponds and rivers where their intertwining roots could brace the banks against the erosive action of the water.

In spite of its visual appeal, the aggressive nature of this tree makes it a poor choice in the residential landscape where its roots will invade sewers, septic tanks, and any water lines. The tree's ability to easily sprout from broken branches and fallen twigs makes it a very invasive species, and one should carefully consider these drawbacks before choosing this tree to plant at home.

Willows are fast growing. This tree can gain 10 feet in a year until it reaches 30-50 ft. in height and 20-40 feet in width. Although deciduous, it offers a long season of beautiful foliage. Often the first to leaf-out in spring and the last to drop them in fall, it is a wonderful shade specimen. It is important to thin the canopy each year as poor air circulation can bring pests and diseases. Also, the brittle wood can easily split if the limbs get too heavy.

Here in the West we equate the weeping willow with mourning and sadness, often seeing it in cemeteries and memorial parks. The trees are actually planted there as symbols of rebirth and immortality, significant in Eastern philosophy. Willows are also associated with the water that flows nearby and the moon's influence upon it. They are believed to be enchanted, evoking emotions and bringing psychic clarity, and have been revered in pagan celebrations since ancient times. The willow symbolizes femininity and the springing forth of life.

Regardless of symbolism, weeping willows are beautiful trees, shimmering and softly hushing our concerns with each breeze. What a perfect place to settle beneath with a journal or to ponder life's mysteries on a moonlit night! It's no wonder they have inspired artists and poets for centuries.


Weeping willow in winter:

Winter weeping willow reflected in a pool of dormant water lilies.
Winter weeping willow reflected in a pool of dormant water lilies. | Source

© 2013 Catherine Tally

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Comments 56 comments

whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

I enjoyed the feeling I got receiving these words. Thanks for the cool breezes. whonu


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Short and sweet, sometimes, less is more! :O)


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Such a sweet vignette.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Very lovely!!!

Voted up +++ and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello whonu,

Thank you for the sweet comments! I 'm really happy to hear that the words and image brought you good feelings. I appreciate your stopping by. :)


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Tom,

I hope all is well with you! This week's distressing news from the Boston Marathon makes me think of you and other fellow hubbers who may have been affected. I always appreciate your visits and your thoughtful, encouraging comments- so glad you found it enjoyable!

Take care!

Cat :)


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Kathy,

I hope that Spring is showing signs of her impending arrival. I am sure you will be ready with your camera and talented eye! I'm pleased that you liked my description of the sensuous dance between the willow and the breeze. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. My best to you,

Cat :)


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Blossom,

Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I love to capture my observations of nature with few words as you do so beautifully with minimal strokes of brush, ink, and paint.

So glad you stopped by!

Cat :)


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Faith,

I am happy that you stopped by! Thank you for your kind comments and for sharing.

I appreciate it.

Take care!

Cat:)


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and beautiful. Enjoyed this. The willow in one of my favorite trees.


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Rasma,

It's good to see you! Willows are such beautiful, graceful trees. Here in So. California where summer drought is a problem, they are, unfortunately, an impractical landscape choice unless at water's edge. I have to admire them at the nearby botanical gardens. Thank you for the sweet comment and your thoughtful votes.

My best,

Cat :)


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 3 years ago

I Love Weeping Willow Trees, and your Poem reflects such feelings oh so well Cat. My Votes of UP & Beautiful go to YOU!


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello b.malin,

I've been away from HP while caught up in my daughter's end of HS, graduation, and plans for college. Thank you for the thumb's up on my reflections of the weeping willow. I love them too! unfortunately, they require too much water to grow in my So. Calif. backyard. My best to you.

Cat :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I must be a soul-mate to the weeping willow. I love all trees however the weeping willow has been my favorite my entire life. I get lost in it's beauty. It brings me peace within. And your poem describes this tree perfectly. I even have a tear or two as I read it for the 3rd time.

Up, awesome, beautiful and will pin and share.

Thank you ~ Audrey

(BTW - I found you in a forum when you commented on my "Gene Krupa" answer :)


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

It's nice to meet you, Audrey! I'm delighted that my comment to your Gene Krupa answer brought you here. He really broke the mold and influenced all that followed even though many today have never heard of him! I just told my daughter that my greatest pleasure in writing is finding out that my words have made a connection with the reader. Your thoughtful comment is very touching. Thank you!

Cat :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

This is so beautiful, Cat. I can't believe I missed this one. Voted Up and much more. :-)


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Genna. I've been so preoccupied with things outside of HP that I have been away from both writing and reading the work of other hubbers. I always appreciate seeing you here and receiving your thoughts and kind comments!

My best,

Cat:)


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

Beautiful words. I am so happy to know this from you. Good job and voted up :-)

Prasetio


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello prasetio30,

I so much appreciate your kind compliment and encouragement. Thank you for stopping by!

Cat :)


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego

Beautiful! I'm always fascinated by weeping willow trees. :) Up and shared!


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello precy anza,

I'm happy that you enjoyed this and appreciate your sharing it. Thank you for your kind comments! Take care.

Cat :)


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Oh my gosh, I remember Chad and Jeremy, but haven't heard of them in years! Thanks for that memory Cat. Great article . . . there's an amazing willow near a pond down the road from me with geese hanging around all the time. I keep meaning to snap a shot. It still has all its green leaves and didn't realize that was normal for them! Lovely photos as well! Sweep vote, except funny . . . hee


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cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Kathi,

Glad to hear that Chad & Jeremy brought back good memories :) That willow near you should be shedding its leaves soon - I imagine it's beginning to get pretty cold! I've always wanted a willow tree, but they require too much water. It's nice to be able to visit the one at our nearby botanical gardens throughout the seasons. I hope you get some pictures of that tree- your photographs are always breathtaking! Thank you for the nice comments.

Cat:)


fivesenses profile image

fivesenses 3 years ago from new delhi

Interesting read on the willow...the pictures are also beautiful.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Good morning, Leena, and thank you for dropping by to read and comment. I am happy that you enjoyed it!

Cat:)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

The weeping willow is one of my favorite trees. I enjoyed reading this hub very much. The photos and the poem are beautiful!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Alicia. Thank you for your nice comments! Glad you like my poem and photographs. All of the best,

Cat:)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 2 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Thank you for all the great information about willows. The poem is great too. I think most people like willows, I know I do. I remember one along a pond where my father and I used to fish.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Cam! I'm glad you stopped by. I appreciate it.

:)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

weeping willows are beautiful trees, shimmering and softly hushing our concerns with each breeze.. yeah a power packed line.. great article cat


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Frank,

Thank you for your very nice compliment :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Just had to come back and linger awhile under my favorite tree. Voted again, completely across except for funny and sharing again too. I hope your days are as beautiful as your hub. ~ Audrey


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

We just don't have these trees in my neck of the woods--but I love them! Such a wonderful hub!


Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 2 years ago from Central Florida

This has always been my favorite tree. I have yet to meet one without planting my bottom right under it and twirling my fingers thru the branches and leaves. Wonderful!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Audrey,

Spring has been early this year, and the willow has already leafed out. I counted 14 frogs among the lily pads in the pond beneath it. Everything is waking up! The days have been beautiful as the buds break open and the garden is full of activity and backyard romance! Thank you for your kindness in sharing this and for your heartfelt comments- I appreciate it so much. Wishing you a glorious Easter and Spring-

Cat:)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

It feels as though we are starting winter here--but the rain is so welcome!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Lisette,

Thank you for stopping by and for leaving your thoughtful comment. Willows with their hanging curtains of swaying branches are magical places. I've always felt secure beneath those limbs as if behind a cloak of invisibility. I can well understand their irresistibilty!

Wishing you a joyful Spring-

Cat:)


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Audrey,

Since willows require a lot of water, we Californians rarely see weeping willows outside of botanical gardens and memorial parks. Such a shame!

I'm glad I can visit the one nearby throughout the seasons, as we know them here. After an unusually warm winter, I too feel the chill in the air as if it should be January. If it rains tonight, there will be snow in the foothills. We are so spoiled by our mild climate!

Thank you for your nice comments. I always enjoy seeing you here.

My best,

Cat :)


favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

I have always admired this tree and wanted one. When I was a child I wrote a poem about this beauty. Thanks for all the information on its care. Maybe one day I'll get my tree.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Fay,

By all means, you should plant one or find a nearby place to visit one often. They bring such peace! Thank you for stopping by to read and comment:)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

We had a big old willow in our front yard when I was growing up. My favorite tree of all time, but they are buggers on the pipes underground. :) Oh well, you can't have everything, right? Thanks for the information. Love the title.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Bill, thanks for dropping by. I'm finding that the willow is a beloved tree for so many. My husband & I wanted to plant one, but it would have been a very poor choice because of its need for water. Thankfully, we can visit the one in our botanical gardens nearby! Did you enjoy my short poem?


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA

I love weeping willows, but their drawbacks have made me stay away from planting one. Maybe one of these days if and when I have a decent sized piece of property away from the waterlines!! Neat hub!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 16 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Victoria, Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I hope someday you will have one! My husband & I both wanted one when we were planting a tree for the front yard but knew it would have been an expensive mistake. Thankfully, we can visit the beautiful one pictured in this hub. Glad you enjoyed reading!

My best,

Cat:)


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 15 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

My latest offering led to this "Related Hub" and it was a fitting reward for my puny efforts. Nice background to the love others have expressed here for this tree. Did you know that cricket bats are made from its wood?


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 15 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Demas and thank you for stopping by to read about the weeping willow! I'm glad your efforts led you here and that you enjoyed my hub. Yes, it's interesting that cricket bats are made from willow wood. There are many varieties, and it's usually white willow (Salix alba) that is best. Unfortunately, the wood of the weeping willow (Salix babylonica) is too dense, therefore heavy, to make a good bat. I guess we'll just have to enjoy its many other attributes.

Nice to see you again! Take care.

Cat:)


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 15 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Hi, This was very enjoyable to read. Weeping willows were my favorite trees. We had them growing up in Indiana, they are so beautiful. Stella


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 15 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Stella!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

I love weeping willows and I have gotten many growing just poking a twig in the ground and one I got going good was moved a half dozen times before I settled on where it should go and today it is majestic!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 12 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Jackie! Lucky you! I'm impressed with your green thumb and imagine that you have lovely grounds and gardens around your home. I appreciate your comments- thanks!

All the best,

Cat:)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

The weeping willow is a delightful tree, and this hub and lovely poem did it jusstice Cat. It was a pleasure to read.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 12 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi John, I'm discovering here that the weeping willow has lots of fans! Thanks for your thoughtful comments- I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Wishing you a happy Christmas season and a bright new year,

Cat:)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas

Your poem was beautiful and apt. The weeping willow tree is so beautiful. I loved that photo you took of it with the water lilies. I never realized how invasive it can become. Pinning this to my trees board and sharing.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 7 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Peggy! Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, it's really too bad that they have such a high need for water which makes them invasive near plumbing; so many of have soft spots for them. I'm glad you found this helpful too. I appreciate the share!

My best,

Cat:)


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 7 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Love the poem and also the interesting information. My very first poem as a child was about a willow tree. They used to line creeks in the countryside to prevent erosion, but recently the watercourses I've seen nearby have had them all eradicated and native trees put in instead. I miss the beauty of the gracefulness of the willows.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 7 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Bronwen, I can imagine how beautiful it was to see their graceful branches hanging over the riverbanks! It makes sense since they were often planted for erosion control. Replacing invasive species with native ones is a far better practice overall; however, I too miss the attractive features of the "bad" guys. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It's nice to see you here!

All of the best,

Cat:)

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