Origin Stories – Gloria Heffernan

Origin Stories for May
    Elegy for the Magi Trees
    by Gloria Heffernan

    I called them the Magi Trees
    since the first time I saw them.
    Three giant Norway Spruce
    just behind the rise of the drumlin
    beyond our backyard.

    Regal trees bearing wisdom and gifts. 
    always on the verge of scaling that small hill,
    always on the brink of arrival. 

    For years, I watched them reveal 
    themselves in the dimmest early morning light,
    drinking my coffee before sunrise
    under their watchful presence.

    In winter darkness, 
    when frost tipped their branches,
    they shimmered in the moonlight
    as if all the constellations
    had descended for just a few hours
    to rest on their branches,
    offer a night light to the deer
    reclining in the bend of the roots.

    And then the heavy equipment.
    The roar of the chain saws.
    The descent, one after the other,
    like innocent men lined up
    before a firing squad.
    I watched, gutted, nothing to do but witness.
    Woodchippers made quick work 
    of the remains.
    Later in the day, I walked to the site,
    gathered three pinecones.  
    Carried them home. 

Origin Stories – Elegy for the Magi Trees

This poem began writing itself before I even knew it had begun.  My husband and I were eating lunch and I saw a look of such horror cross his face that I turned suddenly, just as the first tree was felled. I didn’t know that the violent death of a tree could have such a visceral impact. I turned my chair to face the trees and watched, in solidarity, in witness, in gratitude for the countless times I had sought and found comfort in their presence. I still have the pinecones in a basket next to my desk.


Gloria Heffernan’s Exploring Poetry of Presence (Back Porch Productions) won the 2021 CNY Book Award for Nonfiction. She received the 2022 Naugatuck River Review Narrative Poetry Prize. She is the author of the poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, (New York Quarterly Books), and three chapbooks including Peregrinatio: Poems for Antarctica (Kelsay Books) which was a finalist for the 2021 Grayson Books Chapbook Prize. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in over 100 publications including the anthologies Poetry of Presence (vol. 2) and Without a Doubt: Poems Illuminating Faith. Her website is: www.gloriaheffernan.wordpress.com .

NYQ Books – What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List

Gloria Front Cover
Gloria Back Cover

Gyroscope Review Spring 2023 Issue Now Available

Previous Origin Stories

April 1 – Wanda Praisner

April 2 – Howard Lieberman

April 3 – L. Shapley Bassen

April 4 – Sharon Scholl

April 5 – Stellasue Lee

April 6 – Jeanne DeLarm

April 7 – Virginia Smith

April 8 – Patricia Ware

April 9 – Mary Makofske

April 10 – Ann Wallace

April 11 – Jessica Purdy

April 12 – Lakshman Bulusu

April 13 – Kim Malinowski

April 14 – Anita Pulier

April 15 – Martha Bordwell

April 16 – Anastasia Walker

April 17 – Annette Sisson

April 18 – Shaheen Dil

April 19 – Claudia Reder

April 20 – Cathy Thwing

April 21 – Sarah Snyder

April 22 – Susan Barry-Schultz

April 23 – Laurie Kuntz

April 24 – Maryann Hurtt

April 25 – Yvonne Zipter

April 26 – Jess Parker

April 27thKelly Sargent

April 28thRobbi Nester

April 29thLaurie Rosen

April 30thJames Penha

May 1stOisin Breen

May 2ndJennifer Shomburg Kanke

May 3rdKaren Paul Holmes

May 4thJudy Kronenfeld

May 5thJulie Weiss

May 6thNancy Botkin

May 7thJonathan Yungkans

May 8thGloria Parker

May 9thAlfred Fournier

Previous NPM celebrations from Gyroscope Review

Let the Poet Speak! 2022

Promopalooza 2021

Poet of the Day 2020

Poets Read 2019

National Poetry Month Interview Series 2018

Book Links Party 2017

Other Links

About National Poetry Month

What is National Poetry Month?