Alderfield

Before dawn
we dripping trees
were shadows
in watery reflections,
roots sunk deep,
bark thick and dark
retaining the alder carr
in nook and nodule,
assailant twig
and boat shaped leaf.

Felled by axe
we bled tree screams
rising in gurgles
from the butchering ground,
thick dark bodies
no longer the abode
of swamp water sap
nor larvae’s home,
with departing moths
we sent our souls.

Roots broken
underneath severed
restless bridges
to beasts of the bog
and the deep,
stilled our reflections
in the netherworld’s abyss,
a cauldron unstirred
by touch of healing
bark or leaf.

Now the terraces sink
compact and ivy clad,
rattling plates.
A tinny whistle shrieks.
Approaching the window
a moth’s clear wings
precede our reflections
in dawn rain’s sheen-
shadows of Alderfield
returning.

Alder trees, Greencroft Valley

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9 thoughts on “Alderfield

  1. Some years ago we planted some alders in a long disused quarry near hear. They were doing fine, until one day someone came along and cut them down. We managed to find out that this was a young man with mental health difficulties, who had been cycling round the area with saw, trying to ‘tidy up’ the countryside!! Anyway, the Alders sprang back from their coppiced base and now look healthier than ever.

    1. That’s quite scary- shows how the view that green spaces should be managed by cutting / trimming etc. can lead to extremes…

      Glad to hear the alder trees have recovered 🙂

  2. Sadlly, I spoke too soon. Went up there today, and someone else has chopped them down. They will re-grow, but … why? Then I remembered my last dream (on Monday) was a panic dream about trees being felled at the top of the hill.

    1. Hi Brian, really sorry to hear this- awful news 😦 And I don’t think it’s coincidence that I posted this poem around the same time you had the dream and the trees were cut down… Do you think it may be the same person who cut them down last time?

  3. Reblogged this on animist jottings and commented:
    I’ve asked permission to re-blog this poem by Lorna Smithers, because about 4 Alders (and a Willow) that we planted some years ago, in a disused quarry, have been cut down, for the second time. They will grow again -they’ve effectively been coppiced- but were only 7 or 8 feet high, so this was pointless ‘tidying up’, I suspect. My last dream, recorded on Monday night, was a panic dream about trees being cut down at the top of our hill (which is where the quarry is). This is the second time I’ve had a precognitive dream about trees being cut down near here. I’ve been feeling pretty angry about this, so the poem struck a helpful chord

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