Trees

To be a giant and keep quiet about it, 
To stay in one's own place; 
To stand for the constant presence of process
And always to seem the same; 
To be steady as a rock and always trembling, 
Having the hard appearance of death
With the soft, fluent nature of growth, 
One's Being deceptively armored, 
One's Becoming deceptively vulnerable; 
To be so tough, and take the light so well, 
Freely providing forbidden knowledge
Of so many things about heaven and earth
For which we should otherwise have no word-- 
Poems or people are rarely so lovely, 
And even when they have great qualities
They tend to tell you rather than exemplify
What they believe themselves to be about, 
While from the moving silence of trees, 
Whether in storm or in calm, in leaf and naked, 
Night or day, we draw conclusions of our own, 
Sustaining and unnoticed as our breath, 
And perilous also -- though there has never been
A critical tree -- about the nature of things. 

Howard Nemerov


About the Poem
In the Howard Nemerov piece from the 2002 Annual Report, a sense of awe pervades. Who amongst us can model the internal and integrated power of Trees, their sense of eternal connectedness though only recently ascendant themselves in the biology of Earth? 

Not us. But we orient to TREES and the sort complicated relationships they represent so fluently. 

One of our most experienced partners, Ed Yauch, begins his response to any question asked by one of us (or one of our clients) with the phrase, "Well, first, it's complicated...". Ed, like a mighty tree, has taught us all that resolutions to do with living relationships may be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Frequently it is our unavoidable task as brokers -- working in the forest -- to keep the solutions we recommend a bit complicated. We expect our work to provide our customers with at least a temporary stay against confusion. 

So, "We draw conclusions of our own...to stand for the constant presence of process." We assert a Faith in cycles and mutuality. Though we criticize often and strongly the inappropriate positioning in decision-making processes we oversee -- the careless or the care-free, the reckless or the excessively calculated advantage -- we always hold out for the highest form of understanding. 

We, like the Trees, are not essentially critical of, "... the nature of things" having to do with business relationships. We do not wish for the dangers of international business relationships to be different, nor to pretend that the risks will pass us or our customers by, nor expect the pain and loss of normal human engagements to be felt by others alone. 

We are armored and we are vulnerable on behalf of our clients. And like the TREES, we will be here when they need us, whether they know they need us or not, whether they like knowing it or not.