A Way Through the Woods by Angela Platt

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.



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.


Angela Platt


* “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’.











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