poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘tamarack

November first frost

with 2 comments



November first frost


air brittle, a broken

sliver of moon between

disrobing larches, silence

ruptured by craven’s cry





© Jane Tims  1995

Written by jane tims

November 3, 2014 at 6:50 am

yellow rain

with 10 comments

In October, we still have at least one more autumn display, the shedding of the tamarack needles.   Tamarack is a deciduous tree and loses most of its needles this time of year.  We have a number of tamaracks on our property, so the golden needles fall as a constant ‘rain’ during late October and early November.

Tamarack (Larix laracina (DuRoi) K. Koch) is also known as Hackmatack, American or Black Larch and, in French, épinette rouge.   Tamarack is a large tree, with a narrow pyramidal canopy and pendulous branches.  

In my head, I can still hear the voice of my undergraduate botany professor, who was interested in the origin of growth forms of plants, saying, “the tamarack has, here, both short shoots and long shoots”.  The short shoots emerge from the sides of branches and resemble small bunches or tufts of needles, and the long shoots grow at the ends of each branch and are elongated, with single needles along the length.  The needles are small and generally very soft to the touch compared to other conifers. 

Today, there is evidence that the ‘amber rain’ has begun, just a few needles on every outside surface.  By the end of next week, the windshield of the car will need a swipe of the wipers to clear the yellow needles.

Tamarack needles on the frozen water of the birdbath



Amber Rain


autumn fades

bright carpets

            swept away

pale ghosts rattle

            from beech and oak

limp rags hang

            on frosted pumpkin vines


but still

a touch of autumn 

            stands of larch

            yellow in the afternoon


and now

a gust of wind


the amber rain


            pelting needles

            fill the air

            soaking ground

            strewing gold



fairy straw

washed to the edge

of puddle shores

flooding borders

of roads, driven

by wind, a storm

of gold


            needles patter

            gentle chatter


where begins

the amber rain?

is it larch

or hackmatack,


or tamarack?

who sends the amber rain?



© Jane Tims  1992

Written by jane tims

November 6, 2011 at 7:19 am

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