TREES AT SARRATT
A quick hello and goodbye
To the winter trees at Sarratt,
Their twisted trunks and branches
Dancing a dark fandango,
From a twittering bird of passage.
Mighty village sentinels
Rooted in centuries of soil,
Help me to write a poem
Through which the sky is visible,
In whose trunk the sap is strong.
I go to bed and get up
With your black veins in my eyes,
Lacework of French cathedrals
Praising the God of ages,
Reaching for the impossible.
Coming back along Church Lane
You cluster, packed with memories,
Beside the Farm I once lived in.
Your companions have been felled.
They are missing, like my mother.
As a boy I read tree books,
Climbed in them, carving my name
In the highest possible branches.
These adventures happened at night,
A hazardous occupation.
Birds greet me as I sally forth
Into the Hertfordshire morning
To smile at a passing family.
I'm here to paint trees from Nature -
Saplings to Lebanon cedars.
The wintery willow is dressed
In the faintest of orangey browns,
Her long veils trail to the ground.
The three majestic oak trees come
From a medieval woodcut.
Before turning back to the house,
A warm acorn squeezed in my hand,
I again admire the amazing view
Of the tallest, noblest citizens.
Trees are our greatest heritage.
Marcus Cumberlege, Lappersfort Poets Society