Sunday, 9 June 2013

Old Trees And New Leaves

At the bottom of the garden where I live is an old chestnut tree, or what remains of it. I see it from the bedroom window first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It is always in the same place. And has always been in the same place for a very long time. If I look close I can see where branches have been cut back and removed. The tree was here before the city greedily consumed the land, pushed out its tentacles and replaces soft scrubby corners with hard angles. The rising and falling of hills reduced to a push on the accelerator pedal, or the sudden application of brakes as traffic lights change. Its hard to say the city has brought Beauty to this place. What was once a long way from the city is part of the city; what was once a long way from the city, once never imagined a city at all.

Yet the chestnut remains, its roots deep in the earth, its branches still reaching toward the heavens adorned now with candelabra clusters of flowers, and soft leaves drooping downwards. The tree is neither sad nor joyous, simply patient, enduring. One day it will go, collapse in on itself in a shower of must smelling dust. Then it will be a memory, and in time even the memory will also fade. Where the tree once stood perhaps children will play, lose themselves in the moment  and hopefully also reach up towards the sky.   

On a peony bud
Tight swollen with promise-
Two ladybirds nestled close.

Withered peony flowers
Above the lush foliage –
Every day, rain.

The soft running ghost of night,
Cloud parting momentarily
To reveal
Moon brighter than the sun.

Enveloped by mist
And a tapestry of bird song
The pine forest swallowed
 By its own shadows.

Above the cloud bound earth
A moon sky to be seen.
My heart travels to you
Borne by birds –
Crossing from here to there.

Writing a letter to my long departed father,
Trying to reach beyond the unreachable
To speak of that which was never spoken.
You whom still course through my veins,
Are as mysterious as a landscape
I shall never know nor travel through.
There is no anger, just a wistful sadness,
That we share neither wind and sun
Nor the rain or the sharp beauty of it all.
Dear father, I pray that you are at peace,
As I pray that my daughter may never need
To rewrite this poem in her own words.

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