A feature of Facebook I quite like is the “on this day” memory prompt. Today I was reminded of what I posted to this journal five years ago… I have revisited that word sketch, and my subsequent post, before today. When studying metaphors and imagery in poetry on my MA course I looked through the window at that same tree, and thought about life, and the seasons of the soul.
Today the tree is still here, and so am I. Both older. Since then I know more of my ancestral grounds, and more of the sadness of loss and letting go. But I also hold on to the hope and promise of that life which is ongoing, and which cannot be quenched. It will stir again in spring.
Here is the three part poem I eventually wrote from my first word sketch five years ago. The voice of the poem shifts from being in the tree, then addressing the tree, and finally describing the tree from a longer time perspective. I find this is a process which often helps me cope with the changes and seasons of life. I hope you enjoy it.
Beech Tree Revisited
I stand tall, frame strong, robust
black arms, branching into finger twigs,
dressed respectably in leaves
of supple bronze, green sap holds firm.
Days disrobe me. Clothes fade
to shabby rags, brown stains of death.
Threadbare cloak pulls from my back.
I am stripped,
Here are your reaching fingers,
clutching brittle dying debris.
Here are your silvered arms,
rain sluiced, wind tossed.
bear the winter of your soul.
Here is your straight scarred trunk.
Here is the moss wrapped body.
Here an inner downward thrust,
to roots deep underground
where something unknown
wants to live.
Chattering excitement spills
from nestlings, sheltered
in wooden box pinned to her heart,
Circling crows above her head,
like v-shaped birds drawn
on the sky by children’s hands.
She stretches fingers to the blue,
touches shimmering rain clouds
with swelling tips of pink
which burst to lime,
and hurrying, lace gloves
pulled on, she waves
in welcome to the spring. Then turns,
still rooted in ancestral ground,
to dance along new paths, where
from beneath the litter of past years,
spouting bluebells fountain
into pools around her feet.