I am sure that all of us who are have responsibility for a little bit of land know what it is to turn your back for a while, then find it is growing with such glorious, irrepressible speed that you have no hope of getting it back to whatever plan you had. If, like me, you have a secret preference for wildflowers and woods, it can be hard to pull things up. I keep the runaway primroses and bluebells – but runaway trees! Much as I love a wood, I have to remove them. The tension, wanting but not wanting order, is something I explore in this small poem. I also touch on the more-than-reality of fairy tales, so often expressing some of the deeper workings of our spirits.
Pulling up trees
How quickly this place becomes a wood!
Last year, while I was sleeping,
seeds fell and grew, fell and grew, and now
as the year wakes, these small brown sticks
are all topped with leaves –
miniature sycamore, tiny ash.
How easily they pull up from the damp earth –
one long strong root, going deep,
and side filaments that resist, then
Such destruction –
I am the giant of my fairy tale.
Open lawns of grass, clusters of flowers –
bluebells and primroses – would be
swallowed up in a dense picket of saplings,
so close the squirrel and the bird
would find it hard to move,
the deer’s path would
no longer be straight –
my garden a wood
that grew while
I was sleeping.