Blossom Rising

On the deaths of Major John Cairns Bartholomew, of Wadworthshire,

and a much loved Devizes tree…

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Beneath a grey and monumental sky

In wild confetti clouds that dance in air

The blossom falls, all trees and men will die

However good, or beautiful, or rare

For years beneath the branches of that tree

Have lovers kissed and lonely mourners waited

All men and trees shall die, he, thee, and me

By that same force destroyed and yet created

The clattering of horses’ hooves, the sound

Of yeoman passing, ghosts that haunt the ears

All trees and men be gone into the ground

Till from the light new word of life appears

In red Victorian brick and petal glow

Are strength and beauty blended for our eyes

Good men and trees in season come and go

Such knowledge is the glory of the wise

Drink with your eyes each bright delight you see

And savour every moment of creation

For man will pass, and wind will fell the tree

And wine will fall on coffins in libation

If blood still flows like sap, then drain your glass

Enjoy the fleeting sunbeam in your ale

All trees and men will die, for all things pass

All moonlight fade, and colours turn to pale

Let hops be gathered, make of sunshine, hay

Add rosebuds, and ferment a heady brew

For trees and men shall certain pass away

As dark of midnight shadows summer’s blue

And soon enough, last orders will be rung

Sad flags will flutter half way up the mast

And dark laments for men and trees be sung

And rest be found for dear old souls at last

Learn wisdom, child, from ale and wood and bone

Brew love in barrels down in cellars deep

And find it there when you return, alone

To watch the man in blossom rise from sleep

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by Gail

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Billy No Mates Magpie; My Tree

 

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Outside my kitchen window stands a single hopeful tree

Such beauty in the ghetto is a saving grace for me

In the spring at night its silver buds shine like tiny stars

Twinkling by the bin store and the white vans and the cars

In summer green its vibrant leaves shade cat shit covered grass

And flicker subtle shadows on my kitchen window glass

In the autumn there are berries, for tiny birds to eat

Glowing brighter than the sunset, falling red on grimy street

So many contemplative pigeons seeking sanctuary I’ve seen

So many blue tits, sparrows, robins, adding colours to the green

Squirrels, blackbirds, starlings; quarrels, lovemaking and chat

The cuckoo of a carrier bag, the stranded curious cat

One day they will chop it down and all that will be left

Will be the tarmac and the garages, and I shall be bereft

In the meantime, it is winter; naked branches cold and bare

And a single lonely magpie, every morning, sitting there

Usually with magpies, if you wait a little time

Another bird will come, to bring you joy, as in the rhyme

I watch the skies with hopeful eyes from early dawn till late

Can he be the only magpie in the world without a mate

The magpie sits alone and waits, he’ll be alone tomorrow

Billy No Mates Magpie

And his sorrow

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by Gail