• Hugh Loxdale

Revenge on the Ash Tree

Updated: Feb 16

Poor tree, what had it done except wave its arms

And look beautiful in the sun.

Here songbirds sang in its lofty boughs, -

Linnet, chaffinch, thrush, singing long and hard,

All the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’

Of their complex lives, the many secrets known to them

That Time and evolution had bequeathed.

A hymn to the beauty of divine form and kind,

Too abstract for the distracted mind

That dwells on throughout the blustery days

Of March, when snows blow rough

Through the sacred, naked crown,

And obscure the early spring rays

Of hope.

Here also the chequered woodpecker drummed

Out his message smart;

The squirrels played like strong, grey cats high up, -

To soon depart in leaps and bounds,

From branch to branch, skipping great leaps

Of faith as is their stance

In life.

Alas the tree had offended. It dropped leaves and twigs…

To the very earth and ground from which it came…

And so had to die.

Now only a few branches are left to nod and cry

Out their lament for the wind…

Such is their legacy – a mutilated relic by and by…

Of former glory and a sad end indeed

To a once beauteous story.

Fie I say unto thee…

Who had complicity and conspiracy in its wounds;

As with Christ and the Cross; they who missed its glad tidings,

And were deaf to its mute, yet happy sounds.

Nb. The Ash tree was a sacred tree in ancient British culture, including in Ireland: "Assemblies were held under these trees and it was sacrilegious to damage them in any way." (Morton, A. 1986. The Trees of Shropshire: Myth, Fact and Legend. Airlife Publishing Ltd., Shrewsbury, England. Pp. 114).


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