They're whispering about me,
I hear their rustle above, their exchange
of gossip through leaves.
Debates curl around wooden serpents,
conversations clash in scratchy fingers;
they each have a perspective.
Yew speaks his mind like a boardroom tough,
his opinion will not be swayed,
he knows of damaged roots, defences
layered in toxic bark.
No woodland creatures gnaw him,
no conflicts interest him
or timber fists will bang down, quake ground
to show who's boss.
Oak has secure phrases; he cradled me
in lonely years as I watched cloud patterns
roll and morph. He was easy to hang a school bag from,
my desk, my chair, my solid base.
Some securities age deep within oak.
He's a grandfather, an easy listener with outstretched arms,
always on my side
offering acorns of wisdom like sweets.
Beech sings her view in a lullaby
and I'm captured under her ethereal crown.
Everything sparkles yellow and gold
and secret doorways hide in her trunk,
like those in bedtime stories.
Her fantasy worlds excited me
and I take the spiral starcase down
below ground, inside imagination.
She is all things creative, has inspired
and encouraging words for me.
Maple doesn't like me. She twists conversation
for pleasure, changes mood like leaf colours
her outfits are glamorous, narcissistic,
sometimes spikier than horse chestnut, sometimes demure
and sweet. She could destroy a forest
or poison birds with her sour fruit.
Birch trees talk over my wounds
like hospital staff, their silver hands guide me
over soggy terrain, their medicine is advised
in tiny spoonfuls.
I could make a boat from their skins,
canoe down river
then steer away from weeping willow's drape
of self pity and sorrow.
No comfort can be found there now.
I end at pine woods, which shower me
with tickly needles. They see a positive side
like girly relatives, silliness is okay
and I can run underneath their linking arms.
Everything is a celebration for them,
a reason to get together.
Their message is light hearted; they chuckle:
'Trees shouldn't be all that serious.'