-artwork by Anjum Wasim Dar
Trees miss people too
I know this as true
for this year
I have not been
able to be with one
we planted just outside
our small cottage,
I have not been
able to stand close
to touch it
smile at it
feel its leaves
the extra twigs
just like that
because I was ill and on bedrest
-Only a few flowers bloomed
perhaps to tell me
that it is there for me
no more blossoms
-I know they are waiting
to climb the stairs
step on the terrace
and console them
to speak to comfort
I have missed the
communication with Nature
as Nature seems to have missed me…
O’Dear People ‘ See
The Truth in Trees Flowers
Rain Clouds and Birds
Who holds their wings
as they fly high
with the unseen breeze
and then with a
Message return to The Trees’
-Anjum Wasim Dar
One Day on Dartmoor
One day I must return to Fingle Woods
to do again the walk I once did
with my great-uncle and aunt.
Morning coffee at the Inn
by the bridge over the Teign,
a picnic in a meadow,
leave time to take in Castle Drogo,
then back to Drewsteignton.
I will try not to be sad
that he is no longer with us,
she too old to walk there again,
that they cannot show me
the way they knew so well.
Instead I will rejoice
at the work they helped to start
to restore the ancient woods;
to protect the land and what lives on it –
redstarts, wood warblers, pied flycatchers.
I wish I could return each year
as the birds do, or lived closer
like my loved ones.
My memory of that day
is like the leaves on the conifers. Constant.
-Peter J Donnelly
last of them all you stand bare,
reaching over my garden.
Great, grey arms you hold out,
claiming as much future territory as possible.
Huge, looming, swelling with life –
holding it in check –
summer dammed up in your purple buds,
Waiting for all the other trees to bloom and open.
Choosing your moment.
One morning, suddenly,
greenness steals all the sunlight.
Shade claims my garden.
Grass yellows. Biting visitors thrive
in the cool dampness of your demesne.
High King of Summer:
you call it late, but there is no denying you.
A few weeks later you give it all back –
generous, wasteful, profligate with your treasure.
I stand under a rain of heavy confetti:
married to the King of Summer,
just as the year begins to turn.
(Tree Alphabet of the Celts: workshop with Aonghas MacNeacail, An Tobar, Mull, June 2005)
The Speaking Tree
On such a day
it takes something compelling
to stir me out with
the rain horizontal, and mean
unforgiving wind yet in
that same wind’s sigh
comes the invitation from
the speaking tree.
Dank in remote woods,
at once different from her peers
with their straight pole trunks,
hers join at the base, split apart
then conjoin, natural Siamese twins,
disquieting yet magnetic;
behold – the speaking tree.
Like a celtic marriage spoon
entwined in unending union
powered by the wind’s breath,
rasping message from a hidden
mouth way above my head,
its timbre raucous like a jagged edge,
harsh truths from the speaking tree.
On this gale-torn day
the tree has much to say,
yet in the still summer silence
with insects droning in and out
she waits like an opera singer
in the wings, counting bars,
never missing a beat, for she –
she is the speaking tree.
I snap the self-same view over and over
out of my window, spying on the trees.
I’m privy to their nakedness in winter;
in springtime watch them don their tender leaves.
I see them when respectable in summer
and catch them stripper-dancing in the fall;
I capture changing skies between their branches,
immortalise the warning pink of dawn.
I follow them in every kind of weather;
I know them wrapped in snow and veiled in rain;
I see the sunshine glint on fur and feather –
the self-same view but never twice the same.
-Jenni Wyn Hyatt
Yon Dream Ont Cross (Apologies to “The Dream of The Rood”)
Al tell thee best dream av ad
in any midneet while folk were fast on
a sees a reet cross tree,
a ghoast in plated gold
ringed by shiny moon fascinator,
jewels like worth summat glow worms
rahnd base, five more ont cross beam.
Throngs o’ God’s angels tacked on it.
This were no scam artists cross
but every heaven spirit and earth folk
had peepers on it: a see universe agog
And me, aware of wrong doing,
that native wood-beetle, eyed it too
felt a shiver of glory
from that cross barkskin beaten gold
wi jewels suited a cross a Jesus
and tha knows through all that gold barkskin
rattled folks bloodless yammering
how bleeding as stained crosses rightside.
Harrard an horrored
a that sullied wi leaked blood.
a lay there yonks
in agog sorrow fort Saviourcross
till me lug oyles heard glimmering cross pipe up:
“Ages since, I fetch back I were hacked
dahn at holt-edge, lugged off, hauled
shoulder heaved, squared top on a hill
adsed to a cross to carry wrong doers.
Then I see Christ, his balls ready fort hoisting.
For us there’s no flitting, no shirking on God’s mind to:
I might a fell on these folks. Then
God himsen, med himsen naked, to naked balls,
laid on us afore throngs of eyes
when saving on folks flitted in his bonce.
A shuddered at his touch, afeard splintering,
A had hold, I were raised as a cross,
hold heaven king high, afeard cracking.
They tapped dark iron in us: scars tha still can see,
A cannot bear ’em stroked.
They jeered at both on us.
A felt his blood seep from his side
as he sighed himsen upards.
Av seen pain on this hill
saw Christ as on vicious rack
then roilin’ storm clouds, death to sunblaze,
covered o’er that blaze on God: a glowering gloom
creation’s sorta: Christ on cross tree.
A see folk come forard, a felt splintered
as if added, but gev ne sen.
I were in their dannies, gore-wet, nail gashed.
They laid him art, a dead-weight atter ordeal,
final knackeredness. Then afore
murderers peepers, those folk med
a stone oyle and set Christ inside it.
Then late int day flitted knackered : left
Christ by himsen.
Long atter soldier’s lottery natter
and cold rigor on Christ’s limbs,
us kept our places, drahned wi blood.
Then they sets to
bury us in delved grahned, but disciples, friends fahned us…
put on us barkskin o’ gold an silver.
so nar tha knows, how sorra warped
me flesh, how malice worked with spintering iron.
Now it’s time for earth foak and whole marvel
on creation to cow eye this sign.
God-son were racked on us, so now ma glimmerin’
haunts heavens, can heal
all who afeard for us. Am honoured
by Christ above all forest trees
as God favoured Mary above all women folk.’
Then by mesen, thrilled, me spirit high,
let mesen rave that I can seek what a av seen,
saviour-cross: a peace with mesen that yearns
a help on earth. Few mates still livin’ nar :
most are int manor on heaven, av fetched upards.
Now, daily, I listen art
fort cross-tree in my earthly nappin’,
to lead us from this flitting life
into great manor of heaven
where God has set a right feast.
May God-Son and Ghost be mates,
who were nailed to death for folk ages since :
a saviour as gin us life,
that we may put wood int oyle in heaven.
-Paul Brookes (First published in “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, second hand still available.
Bios And Links
-Jenni Wyn Hyatt
was born in Maesteg in 1942 but now lives in Derbyshire. A former English teacher, she did not start writing poetry until she was in her late sixties.
She has been published in a number of poetry journals both in print and online. Her subjects include nature, childhood memories, human tragedy, people and places and humorous verse. She also enjoys writing in short forms such as haiku.
She has published two collections, Perhaps One Day (2017) and Striped Scarves and Coal Dust (2019).
is a late-emerging poet, after 30 years of motherhood and a career in music education. March 2020 saw the publication of Big Green Crocodile (Otter-Barry Books).
Published by The Emma Press, South Magazine and online, Jane lives in Cornwall.
-Peter J Donnelly
lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.
He has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Writer’s Egg where ‘Survival’ previously appeared. ‘Peppered Moth’ was included in the Ripon Poetry Festival anthology ‘Seeing Things’. ‘One Day on Dartmoor’ was highly commended in the Barn Owl Trust competition and published in their anthology ‘Wildlife Words’. It was also published online by the National Trust on their Fingle Woods webpage.