Like so many people in this lock-down emergency I have found it hard to concentrate on my normal creative pattern of reading and writing. The public dilemma tends to bleed one of both emotional and physical energy.
But finally, finally I have begun to write again, inspired by this semi imprisoned situation – liberated by looking out of my big bay window.
Thing are different now aren’t they? I have abandoned my little writing room upstairs and also my bigger office downstairs and retreated to the single writing table inside the bay window on the sunny side of the house. This is always a favourite place.
From here I can see the overgrown lawn and the over-sprouting shrubs - suffering from enforced neglected throughout this lockdown. But more important than this I can see the trees all around this garden which – when the house was built 150 years ago - was a piece of ancient woodland belonging to the Dean and Chapter – the office of the Bishop of Durham.
So, relishing an escape from interminable domestic commitments, I have spent my lock-down at my table writing, supervised by the hares who act as my quality controllers. They are mad March hares. It certainly has been a mad March, hasn’t it?
Locked down here I have become obsessed with the movement and identity of my ancient trees.
So here is my first completed work in progress - a short-line pieces called
With fluttering leaf-fingers
and nobbly branch-elbows
three lanky sisters stand
side by side, elbow to elbow,
nodding their heads and
gently touching each other,
relishing the ever present chime of birdsong.
Their ancient brothers,
high as the house,
stride the steep bank
unimpeded by ivy.
Tangled up, overgrown -
their thick trunks are
embroidered with wild, wandering creepers.
Ankle-deep in the skeletons of
five-year-old leaves, the pathways
wind between the trees. And
bluebells, spawned by ancient bulbs,
blunt-nose their way between the
roots of ancient colonising trees -
a deep blue glimpse through
the veil of filtered sunlight.
Outside my window
three lanky sisters
stand side by side.
Wendy Robertson. May 2020