Based on a photo taken at sunset of an ancient tree on a lane leading to a village in Kent.
THE CHURCH TREE
Strong and stark your form defiant against the Skies,
bereft of your crocodile Skin and your Glory,
a strange hypnotic beauty within you lies
a pattern of Rings which hides your Story.
Forced into your twilight years ahead of time,
by malicious Storms intent on your demise.
I try to read your branches which seem to mime,
scenes from your past which now do rise
and before me I see several Lover’s meet,
the Cat that always slept within your Roots,
and the Workers who used you as a Seat
while the Postman paused to adjust his Boots.
But the warmest image that does now appear
is of the Children that each Summer to you did race,
climbing high into your Branches to laugh and cheer.
The promise of their return helped you to face
those long Winter months of Snow and Rain
until you felt their arms around your Boughs
saying that you’re their special Place again,
for as long as their fast fading Youth allows.
So as you stand here silent and forlorn
listen to my Words and feel my gentle touch,
for many Trees from you have been born,
and we were the Children that loved you so much.