NYCWP Voices

NYCWP Voices: “Trees” by JoAnna Bueckert-Chan

March 1, 2016

Last Updated on by Jane Higgins


Once monthly, the New York City Writing Project celebrates the teacher-as-writer by publishing works of poetry and prose written by its teachers. If you are interested in submitting your work to NYCWP Voices, please read the submissions guidelines and submit your work by email to




-JoAnna Bueckert-Chan

Lightning strikes trees because they reach to the sky.

When this occurs,

sap boils

gas expands

timber explodes.


When a tree is struck by lightning,

the current

dismembers it

chars it and cracks it

trunks splinter and split.


This tree


It may succumb

to the electric charges & ions

swirling in thunderclouds

of storms above.


But sometimes,

If the tree was well mulched, watered, fertilized, trimmed

from before the clouds began to loom,

It can seal off wounds

endure damage

hold the earth

and though scarred

grasp upward


and again.



JoAnna BCJoANNA BUECKERT-CHAN began her teaching career in Mexico City where she taught English to adult learners and then became a language institute Branch Director.  Upon returning to her home state of California, she worked in the Bay Area as a high school English teacher with the Puente Project at Tennyson High School, where, among other initiatives, she restarted the journalism program and school newspaper. When she relocated to New York City, she was fortunate to find her footing at Landmark High School, a member of The New York Performance Standards Consortium.  While at Landmark High School, JoAnna taught English classes and a host of other courses including advisory, poetry, urban hiking and rock climbing.  Currently, JoAnna works as a NYC Writing Project on-site teacher consultant and her passion lies in helping schools and teachers use writing in authentic ways that help students see the power of their own voices and minds.