Friday, 18 December 2020

Winter Trees

 Since my writing group went online, I've mostly done the weekly tasks I've set them - and it's been fun and quite liberating trying out different things. Most recently, I set them to write a poem about winter. (You can see the task here.) My poem was very generously and kindly received - so here, very trepidatiously, because I know I'm not a poet, it is. 

Winter Trees

They look dead, don’t they?

Beautiful, but dead. That incredibly complex

Network of branches, held aloft against a thrush-egg sky:

An exquisite grey etching, done by the cleverest artist

With the finest pen. But of course,

They are not dead: only resting,

Preparing for spring. It’s all happening

Inside those enigmatic trunks and branches,

Powered by invisible roots and fungal filaments.

All they need from us

Is to be left alone.


Their backdrop is the sky.

Sometimes dull grey cloud, perhaps

With a tinge of sulphurous yellow,

A warning of storms ahead. But sometimes –

Ah, sometimes!

They trace their intricate patterns

Against a sky of perfect blue,

Which has a softness summer skies

Can’t match: the chalky blue of

Ancient frescoes. And then too –

That jewel-like blue, that you get

Just before sunset, when in a last splendid gesture,

The sun throws gold at the trees

And they flaunt their splendour

With all the brilliance

Of a mediaeval manuscript.


And then again – not often,

But all the more precious for that:

Silvered by frost, they glitter

With icy magic. Or snow falls,

To highlight each stark line,

While below, new shapes appear:

Softly sculpted drifts,

The delicate tracery of birds’ footprints.

And there is

A silence, as the world holds its breath,

Before we arrive, with our sledges and boots,

Our shouts and our litter.

🅲 Sue Purkiss