Last week Coleridge in Wales visited Cwtsh Writers in Newport – the variety and depth of response to the festival was a true representation of what we’re trying to discover. With that in mind some of the writers have generously agreed to have their work included, as archive, on this blog.
A WAY THROUGH THE WOODS
Four thousand years of bristlecone*
dendrology rings the steady
tick, the giant pine’s slow dying.
Finding a way, warming airborne
barbed beetle, fungal saprophyte,
clings to the ancient girdle
making the long sap suck.
Hear an absence echoing.
Tocsins of elm and ash deaf-dumb,
diluvium floods, world forests
turning history. We found a way:
aspirin leans on willow’s source,
quinine on Peruvian bark,
Pacific yew a cancer drug,
plankton thrives on compost leaves.
The wood is Eden’s pharmacy.
Leaf fall beneath the feet, the scent
of pines gives spirits wings. Living
beings, birds and foxes, rabbits
deer and butterflies all sing their song.
To each root, each skin, our lives’ immunity.
Concrete towers and parking lots
arboreal bare, invite stress
disease and poverty of soul.
Sentient aseity, living
breathing singing earth, we owe.
And to ourselves another, wooded, path
fumbling our way through.
* “bristlecone pines of the U.S., the most ancient trees in the world,
are dying through a combination of bark beetles and a fungal disease
enabled by a warmer climate” Jim Robbins: `The Man Who Plants Trees’.