Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lost Trees; Wildridge & the Great Storm 1990

Lost Trees

Great Grandfather's garden, ‘Wildridge’,
North Tawton; Storm 1990

no wellington boot
stuck in the third branch
of the juniper fir; no aunt
shrieking Get down, you’ll fall;
no owls on the sticking-out top
of Douglas tree, to hoot back to
from Michael’s room; no
where to go when you want to swing
in wind and help not-quite-ripe-apples
fall; no camp to climb to in the copper beech
on Saturday mornings and read Ladybird comics
while sucking your thumb.

no swing on the weeping willow.
You can point to the speck
on the black and white photo:
that’s Great Uncle Michael,
there on top of the Douglas fir,
but they won’t believe you,
Grandchildren won’t believe you.

What will they say
when you tell them about the monkey
that still chucks bananas
from the puzzle tree?

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the great storm of January 1990  so  I'm re-blogging this poem, which was written in memory of our childhood's garden's trees, about Wildridge, North Tawton. The poem was first published in  Otter; New Devon Poetry, 9, 1991 
The photo was taken after the house was completed in 1910. Trees may have been planted by then but not had a chance to grow! The monkey-puzzle was planted in front of the house and is still there.

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