Monday, 6 January 2014

Trees and guns both shoot

This year is the centenary of the outbreak of the First World war. Much will be written about it. Some of it will be idiotic and self-serving like the comments made by Michael Gove recently. Hopefully such stupidity will be in a tiny minority. Here's my tree-themed take.



Ash-keys unlock oaken doors,
sycamores rescue drowning acorns
by sending helicopter-seeds
and lifefloats –
catkins yowl to be let in,
dogwood barks to be let out.

Both shed leaves upon the floor.


Willows weep for fallen deadwood comrades,
elders send saplings to the Front –
they’re only following orders.
It seems just yesteryear that they were buds and blossoms,
blooming on the may,
flying warning flags from beech-masts –
now thorns are set, fixed as bayonets,
sound the advance,
march across the Nullarbor.

Some come home
missing twigs and branches,
bearing lop-sided crowns and leaf-scars –
at first tended like heirloom bonsai,
but later, still unsightly and now seeming foreign,
they are planted in the corner
of some forgotten arboretum.

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