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Jerry Brown waxes poetic to celebrate Arbor Day

March 7, 2012 |  3:58 pm


It’s not every press release from the governor of California that begins with poetry.

But when it came time draft a proclamation in honor of Arbor Day, the sort of mundane chore that most governors would think little to nothing about, Gov. Jerry Brown felt compelled to wax poetic. He recalled a poem by his old friend, the beat poet Gary Snyder.

Brown didn’t remember the entire poem, but directed his staff to dig it up for him so he could include it in his official state recognition of the day dedicated to tree planting.

His staff complied and Snyder’s verse “Gold, Green” was included in the press release.

Then the governor weighed in on the importance of trees. “Trees provide shelter for us and for birds and wildlife. They give us shade and conserve our soil. We harvest fruit from trees and at the same time enjoy their beauty,” he wrote.

Brown spokesman Gil Duran confirmed that the governor requested the poem’s inclusion in Wednesday’s announcement and that he and Snyder “know each other from way back.”

Brown, who spend the first part of his day at his cousin's funeral and holding meetings in the Bay Area, said he hopes Californians will spend the day, "dedicated to the planting of trees not only for the benefit of this generation but as our gift to posterity."

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--Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Poet Gary Snyder. Credit: Christopher Felver/CORBIS