In my last post I wrote about my trees, with my eye sharpened through lock-down. Another lock-down preoccupation has been making my way through hundreds of the notebooks which are the roots of all my writing
And I found this poem – also called Trees – in the October 2002 notebook.
The poems are similar, but as you will notice, different. This one alludes, I now see, to the Roman occupation of the North. I recall now that I was also, at the time, writing my novel The Pathfinder which is set in post Roman Britain.
Here you are:
Green light drips onto sooty bark.
The white sun forges pathways
onto petals of yellow aconite
spotlighting chunky bluebells
awakened from their ancient bulbs.
Raw branches push outwards and up
escaping the broad trunk -
a descendent of the ancient woodland
rooted here predating the existence of
the whole town, the main street.
That straight road still echoes with
the tramp-tramp of mercenary feet
pacing the land, holding it in thrall
for an emperor lounging now
in glimmering Mediterranean light.
Now this child walks through the trees
trailing her hand on the roughened bark.
She puts her face to the sky and savours
the pearls of rain that drop from her
round row into her closed eye.