I have always found trees to be a source of great solace, especially during difficult times when growing up, and I would love to hear other people's experiences of trees. The ones I write about here were a favourite in a nearby village when I moved to the area during adulthood, but I was horrified to discover a few years ago that one of them had been cut down and removed - I heard a while later it was for reasons of safety as it had sadly become diseased. This made me want to write about it and a poem seemed fitting, especially as I have always found poetry to be a way of expressing feelings which I could not convey in any other way.
THE TREES AT OAKLEY
Very old is the tree, its sinewy trunk stretching up and ever-skywards,
At one with the earth, rising out from the moss-cushioned, violetted soil;
Its roots emerging from the grainy ground as of a monster from the deep.
Flailing limbs toss and sway, dipping down to touch the frowsty floor,
Where claw-like feet peck and pick their way through crusted crunchy nutshells,
Foraging for fruit-bearing sustenance and nestled pools to cool a thirsty throat;
Seeking repose in dim, hushed hollows hewn between the roots.
Creeping ivy, ever-green on lime-green lichen,
Strives to meet with knobbled eyes, bulging out from scarred and pock-marked bark
Rent and straining as its girth grew and expanded.
While, deeper yet, etched sentinel-seer eyes watch wisely, tacitly.
A mottled, contorted and melancholy grin professes silent ire and unexpressed hidden sadness.
Broken branches rub a splintery canker where once festered a weeping open wound,
And stumpy amputations give way to stronger protrusions,
Twisted and melded into one,
Growing thinner and ever finer
As their lace-like fingers weave their latticework against an angry billowing sky;
First rustling, then rushing, as wind through the rafters of a ruined cathedral.
Very old was the tree, its flat cracked stump, cut off at ground level like a forest dweller's table,
The only proof of its neighbouring existence; its majestic gallantry gone for ever
As prevalent, wizened splendour was unpreventive of its own demise.
But hope springs yet, for seeded sproutlings of oak, holly and beech, encircling its bulk,
Flutter their infant leaves as they flitter their unquelled dance, expectantly,
Oblivious of their own fate;
Under the ever watchful guard of girded yews.
A Moodscope member.
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