Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Lament to the Linden - high winds

Sunday evening was still and calm, however, there was a severe overnight weather warning. Sure enough the storms came in the early hours of Monday morning and continued today with a biting, cold wind. I couldn't help recalling an old lime tree that stood on a bank just inside the boundary wall of the old cemetery and which leaned somewhat precariously in the direction of the terraced houses nearby. This tree over-hung my garden and I grew to love it, as it seemed to sing in the wind - in fact, it was one of the reasons I moved to the house I now live in. However, if I am honest, in high winds like those of today I worried a little - if the tree came down it would have taken several houses with it, including my own.

One cold, January day a couple of years ago I heard an almighty noise outside - to my horror I saw that my tree was in the process of being cut down, with great skill I must add, to it direct away from the houses. I was heartbroken, it was almost like losing a friend. Two years on, the stump of the tree is no longer visible having long since been reclaimed by the earth and covered with brambles and ivy. However, metre or so away on higher ground, there is now a sapling lime-tree growing - seeded by the original old tree, which serves as an illustration that life (nature) goes on, renewing itself.

In an attempt to articulate my sense of loss at the time I wrote this prose-poem, it does not in any way follow accepted rules of rhyme or rhythm but it was from the heart.
(Lime trees are sometimes also known as Linden trees).

Lament to the Linden
You scattered blossom on us
As springtime came and went,
The summer evening sunlight
Reflecting gold on green,
Your graceful limbs
And shimmering leaves
Whispering in the breeze.
Then as the darkness lengthened
Your leaves profusely drifting ...
Beauty filigree, silhouetted
Magical and eerie,
Against the winter moon.

The Linden Tree has been cut down
Guardian no more at the cemetery wall
It breaks my heart to see her
Lying forlorn, shorn, dismembered.
Her might trunk - felled monolith,
Oh, Linden Tree forsaken.

Pigeons congregate, fluster, fly on
A magpie circles lonely,
Calling its confusion
Oh, Linden Tree forsaken
Save for the smallest bird, a wren
Comes secretly, as ever,
To say a last farewell.

And me mere mortal
Who gazed upon you daily
And saw you as a friend
I take it as an honour
Witness, at your end.

TJS (written February 2nd 2006)