Not the Pretty Pleasers

Go green with a little help from Woodland Trust | The Worcester Observer

There is power in a tree. A real tree.
Not the little pretty pleasers,
the right size to fit neatly by suburban borders,
fluttering their tiny hands, making a show of their season.
They can’t hold a chestnut candle to
the ancient giants and legendary dwellers of dark woodland where we feared
to tread on the leaf-mulched floor, sinking on the dead sloughs of last year’s growth,
cracking the old hairy bones.

I mean trees that gave us talismen against the dark and unexplained that
crept into our thoughts at night. The Alder with
its form so true and strong that hooded Robin
shaped his arrows from its wood, his jolly friar skewered his meat,
his fair maid clogged her once soft feet.
A larder for the brimstone and the bee,
yet its burnt powder black
as plotted death,

Or the ancient, toxic Yew, growing for millennia.
Sprouting poisonous pricks as
man forged tin and copper bowls,
bending Roman minds to myth,
foretelling doom and
shielding mounded tombs of plague-filled pits,
yet promising to use its lethal leaves
to slay malign and deadly foes.

And now, hypocrisy unveiled.
Last week a slender Mountain Ash was dug into my lawn.
A Rowan tree, the tree of life,
that saved heroic Thor’s,
and gave breath to the Norse tale’s Eve,
and I can’t wait for feathered leaves
to wave the birds towards its fruit
and be my pretty pleaser.