The Maple’s Lament

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | December 29, 2018

It was formerly a common practice for violin makers to inscribe a Latin phrase inside violins that translates “Living in the woods I was silent, but now I sing.”

Bluegrass violinist Laurie Lewis asked what the tree might have to say about it:

The Maple’s Lament | By Laurie Lewis

When I was alive, the birds would nest upon my boughs,

And all through long winter nights, the storms would round me howl,

And when the day would come, I’d raise my branches to the sun,

I was the child of earth and sky, and all the world was one.

But now that I am dead, the birds no longer sing in me,

And I feel no more the wind and rain, as when I was a tree,

But bound so tight in wire strings, I have no room to grow,

And I am but the slave who sings, when master draws the bow.

But sometimes, from my memories, I can sing the birds in flight,

And I can sing of sweet dark earth, and endless starry nights,

But, oh, my favorite song of all, I truly do believe,

Is the song the sunlight sang to me, while dancing on my leaves.


Lewis, Laurie. (2010). The Maple’s Lament. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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