We sit beneath the apple trees,
Which bloomed all through the long decline,
And raised their blossom to the skies:
A world of struggles, famine, war.
Those complicated patterns form
Across the grass like veins of time,
And radiate out from the trunk:
They chart another year of growth.
Another era for their leaves,
Which we will live, then leave behind,
As bees and beetles, moths and flies.
The shade is cool, our days are short.
We plant the seeds and tend the shoots:
Above us spread the apple trees.
There is a weight to being alive,
A density of songs and claws,
A flock of beaks and broken barbs:
It clings to flight, it grips it tight.
The earth will take the sycamore.
The sky will take the sycamore.
Its bark and leaves will feed and fall,
And life will take the sycamore.
This gravity of slowing blood;
The pressure buzz within the ears;
The dissipating breath and twitch:
It gives its all, it takes its toll.
The weight will keep the moon in tow.
The weight will hold us in its flow.
So let’s not say that time will end,
Instead let’s watch the summer light
Come pouring through the valley leaves,
As if there were no other place.
And let’s not say it passed us by.
The earth beneath our feet is firm:
It stays the same – it doesn’t change –
We touch it, know it, share its pull.
So yes, we’ll simply linger on,
And take our shelter from the rain.
We’ll wait until the wind has calmed.
We’ll wait until the sun returns.
These moments, here beneath this tree,
Mean everything to you and me.
Between the treetops time has curves
Where decades twine like blackbird’s songs,
Where centuries are interlaced,
And pasts are born from future space.
To work the weave you sway with trees,
And wind your mind up through the leaves.
Your neurons switch from time through time,
Through interlinking rings which bind.
In them you’ll live what might have been,
And twist back out through what is not:
All knowledge of the lives and deaths,
Are hanging in the forest’s breaths.
The chaos of this heavy air
Creates the mirage we see there.
Down by the spring the lemon trees
Had grown and died and grown again
Since well before the town was built,
And no-one knew their real age.
Each year the sparrows filled the trees
With squabbling hoards of hungry mouths.
They fed and roosted, fought and bred,
And no-one thought how long they had.
Between the trees the old man worked.
He watered courgettes, melons, beans.
He flicked the flowers clean of flies,
Just like the old men had before.
The lemon trees stood by the spring,
And no-one heard the flowers fall.
They live another planet’s life,
Their world a maze of creviced wood ,
And flakes of bark and spider’s webs.
They seek the scent of insect’s paths.
And up they spiral, ever up –
Their probing, prizing spikes of beaks
Are thrust into the rotten reek –
They never reach the canopy.
Then out across the autumn woods
Where fungal spores spread sickly mats,
They claim their trees with needle trills
Like crystal wrens at misting dawn.
In otherness they live their lives,
As alien spirits of the oaks.