The Great Tree: 3200 Years in One Photo…


Gary Corseri – TRANSCEND Media Service

And, when a sapling, did it hear
whispered legends on the wind–
of Hammurabi, Akhnaton, Babylon
and Ilium?

Those men climbing now are bugs.
Though they have their lives,
their daily grind for daily bread,
what’s 70 years in this Sequoia’s life,
secluded here in the soil of its elements?

And 500—nay, 5000–years from now,
when we’re long gone to ruins
and runes of memories
(on some computer chips, perchance!)
will living roots reach down to living earth,
will soaring branches still
filter light below?

Or will the whirling orb whirl lifeless
in the Cosmic Sea
where suns are gathering, even now,
like shining dew on silvery webs
to ripen and renew?


Amazingly awesome to think of the life of this tree!

Nor forest fires, nor earthquakes. Just a quiet life in a California forest for all these years.


Not every tree has a nickname, but ‘The President’ has earned it. This giant sequoia stands at 247 feet tall and is estimated to be over 3,200 years old. Imagine, this tree was already 1200 years old when Jesus walked the earth.


The trunk of The President measures at 27 feet across, with 2 BILLION needles from base to top.


Because of its unbelievable size, this tree has never been photographed in its entirety, until now. National Geographic photographers have worked along with scientists to try and create the first photo that shows the President in all its glory.


They had to Climb the tree with pulleys and levers, and took thousands of photos. Of those, they selected 126 and stitched them together, to get this incredible portrait of the President.

And here it is:

The man standing near the trunk of the tree is a good indicator of the tree’s size.

Incredible, isn’t it?


Dr. Gary Steven Corseri is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. He has published and posted articles, fiction and poems at hundreds of venues, including, TMS (Transcend Media Service), The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine and Counterpunch.  He has published 2 novels and 2 collections of poetry, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere.  He has performed his poems at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum and has taught in universities in the US and Japan, and in US public schools and prisons.  Contact:


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Feb 2017.

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One Response to “The Great Tree: 3200 Years in One Photo…”

  1. Ed Curtin says:

    This beautiful poem puts an awful lot in perspective – echoes of Yeats, Eliot, and Auden. And the photos only add to its power. Awe inspiring!

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