13 June 2011 § 11 Comments

Heart broken

Rounding a rise deep in the wood
I feel my throat and fingers tighten:

A half-dozen young hornbeams
Supple, wrist-thick, new in leaf,

Wrenched from their ancient coppice-stools
Or snapped off shoulder-high,

Torn ends splayed like old paintbrushes,
Stark-white as wantons stripped in the market-place.

Someone seized these living limbs
And broke them, felt the soft bark split and curl

Heard the tender fibres tear
Smeared their hands with green and sap

And – what then? Just walked away
Or – more likely – ran off laughing, leaving

These slender lengths of springtime bent
And sticking out like dislocated fingers.

I stand in my defiled, sacred space
And grieve. For more than trees died here today.

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§ 11 Responses to Desecration

  • Ina says:

    It is very sad this happens, pure vandalism. Great poem though.

  • gonecycling says:

    Thank you, Ina – I know there are far more terrible things to worry about in the world, but these little incidents, personal and close to home, are reflections of the attitudes behind the big tragedies.

  • belfastdavid says:

    I get similar feelings Nick when I walk through the city and watch the random distribution of litter!!!


    • gonecycling says:

      Oh good heavens yes, that’s another of my bugbears; they’ve recently built a skate-park close to our woods and after a warm weekend the mess is indescribable. It’s as though a great tsunami has washed in, then receded, leaving a high-water mark of plastic bottles and food packaging. I don’t think our generation was as thoughtless – was it?

      • belfastdavid says:

        I would like to think we were better than that Nick.
        I certainly don’t remember discarding the newspaper in which my fish and chips were wrapped on the pavement 🙂

  • gonecycling says:

    Exactly – I don’t think it would even have crossed our minds. At the risk of sounding all Daily Mail-ish, there’s definitely less respect for people and property than there used to be. Don’t know what’s gone wrong, really; I guess it’s because now, things have value only if you can put a price on them. And there are no price labels on trees, pavements and people’s feelings. Sad.

  • slpmartin says:

    Part of my daily ride takes me past areas where school children head off to school and will often take out their frustration on the trees on their route…indeed a sad thing to see.

  • Such a sad occurrence…and one that happens many times over. Why some people love to destroy, rather than build, or appreciate, I really do not know.

    A fine poem… xx

    • gonecycling says:

      Thanks, BP – it’s the senselessness of it that really pains me, I think. What goes on in people’s heads, I wonder, that makes them think it’s OK to do these things?

      • I think it’s a combination of ignorance and possibly a way to vent their unhappiness with their own existence – when they see something beautiful, they have to destroy it. One day perhaps they will learn and make amends? Let’s hope so.

        Hope life is going good for you and your family my friend xx

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