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8.7.21

WHEN A TREE FALLS


 WHEN A TREE FALLS                   

A tree is always there,
immovable,
a living, solid friend - 
backrest to the solitary reader,
a shelter from sudden rain,
the hollows of its roots
a bed for summer lovers -
perhaps a hundred years
of memories.

You don't expect
to wake one morning
and find its height reduced to length,
the secret places in its roots
indecently exposed,
and the unreachable branches
sad and defeated
under your caressing hand.

When a tree falls                                         
your whole world rocks
and the child in you
trembles.
It's like coming downstairs
in the dark night
seeking comfort
and hearing your father cry.
.........................................................................
I wrote this poem after the hurricane in England - a rare event that toppled thousands of trees across the country. The trees that affected me the most were a row of chestnuts on our village green, where I went with my young son to survey the damage. He was thrilled to collect a whole shopping bag of conkers - I was heart-broken by the sight of root balls bigger than a bus exposed to the air, and the vast holes slowly filling with water.
Thanks to Sandra Crook for the photo, and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers. 


23 comments:

  1. This is quite wonderful, Lizy. You've captured that sense of strangeness and alienation that follows change.

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    1. Thank you, Neil, it's one of my favourites.

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  2. Beautifully done, Liz. So much love found here.

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  3. Gosh, Lizy. That really did tug at the heart.

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  4. Such a poignant piece Liz. I remember the hurricane well, partly because a falling tree squashed my new car - I blamed it on Michael Fish!

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    1. And if he'd said there would be a hurricane, what could you have done?

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  5. this is one of your very best. well done.

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    1. Thank you Plaridel - it's one of my favourites.

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  6. Liz, your poem deeply resonated with me. It's clear you are kin to trees. Seeing your family member "horizontal" is a shock to the system. So sorry to hear the storm took your beloved trees :( I wish there was a way to use a crane to pull them back upright. There probably is but nobody seems to want to invest in trees that have fallen...

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    1. It was incredibly sad, and a day or two later we drove into Brighton where swathes of trees were down. The chestnuts in our local park were replaced and those are now mature trees.

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  7. This is fantastic, Liz. and oh, so true. Wow.

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  8. Dear Liz,

    This puts me in mind of a 100 year old tree my son had on his property in upstate New York. An unprecedented tornado took it out in minutes. :( Well written poem.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, storms are inevitable as are the loss of trees, but each one still hurts.

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  9. A wonderful poem! It goes right to the heart.“Makes the inner child tremble“-that‘s exactly it. That‘s what it feels like.

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  10. A wonderful poem! It goes right to the heart.“Makes the inner child tremble“-that‘s exactly it. That‘s what it feels like.

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  11. A wonderful poem! It goes right to the heart.“Makes the inner child tremble“-that‘s exactly it. That‘s what it feels like.

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  12. A wonderful poem! It goes right to the heart.“Makes the inner child tremble“-that‘s exactly it. That‘s what it feels like.

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