Sigh, sough, bend low…

Sigh, sough, bend low,
sing a song of sorrow:
I hold your branch
and feel the wrench
of what may come tomorrow.

Reach high, shield eye
join hands above me:
your branches bare
in bud this year
and ever after? Maybe.

I yearn, will learn
to spring forth like bracken
like peat, like soot
I pray to green, not blacken.

Β© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Written for earthweal

This week, Sherry asks us in her challenge, ‘The Age of Loneliness’ to:

Write about this loneliness, about endlings, about the solastalgia we experience from the impact of environmental change, as we ponder the species who are vanishing from our world at an astonishing rate, almost as fast as the glaciers are melting.

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday, and I spent some time in the Lake District, noticing trees, being grateful for them, and thinking about the many environmental threats they face as a result of our actions. I held the branch seen in the central photo, and felt the weight of its heavy soughing, its sighing. Yes, I am a tree-hugger. Unashamedly so.

Coincidentally (if there are any true coincidences), today’s entry in the wonderful Word Perfect by Susie Dent, is ‘Book.’ She notes:

“The history of the book is inextricably intertwined with trees, in ways that extend far beyond the production of paper. The original word, in Old English, was spelt boc, ‘beech’, for it was on the bark of that tree, or upon beechwood itself, that runes were cast and inscriptions engraved…

“It seems entirely appropriate that the tree β€” whose name shares an ancient root with ‘true’, because truth is loyalty, steadfastness, and solidity β€” was the birthplace for books.” β€” Susie Dent, Word Perfect (John Murray Press, 2020), p. 90.

It is high time we began to reciprocate such loyalty…

48 thoughts on “Sigh, sough, bend low…

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  1. A beautiful write and I love the inclusion of the Beech story. We are thinking along similar lines today. I hope that your health is improving. Good to read you again.

  2. “I pray to green, not blacken.” So beautiful. You live in such a beautiful area, though the photos show it has been stripped of many trees. I love the rhytjm and rhyme of your lovely poem.. I am always amazed at the generosity of Mother Nature, and trees, all trying so hard to keep life alive on the planet in spite of us. Yes, we need to reciprocate

  3. Like Sherry, that last line, especially speaks to me. Trees are so central to life–acknowledged in the fact that so many cultural traditions include a tree of life. Beautiful rhythm as usual. (K)

  4. I can see how the trees in the header photo would inspire heartfelt poetry. They’re just beautiful. It’s painful to see great swaths of tree destroyed for more subdivisions, convenience stores, strip malls, and storage facilities.

  5. You felt the weight of the branches heavy soughing and I felt the emotion in your writing, including your concluding thoughts. Beautiful work, Ingrid. πŸŒ³πŸ€—

  6. Lovely photos! You live in such a beautiful place, Ingrid! Having read your exquisite, lyrical poem, I feel as if I have heard a choir singing.

    I have hopes for the trees. Mother Nature is resilient, but it takes many years for a tree to grow to its full size, We need to do our part to save the trees.

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