Although I Do Not Speak

Although I do not speak the language of trees,
Still, I hear them murmur their low rumours of sorrow,
Now that the storm’s at last gone past.

All around me, tall trees have toppled:
Trunks swung & hung in others’ arms;
Angled, tangled, switched vertical for horizontal.

Bursting gusts have stripped their bark
And flayed away the shelter of the woods:
Laid bare branch sinews, strings & strands.

Their roots have hauled up broken chalk, have heaved up
Flint, have made earth’s floor tremble with tender sympathy
While I, so young in trees’ time-reckoning,

Child without root, my feet as yet unplanted
In knee-deep bluebells, ran, swerved below
Branches that clawed the roaring sky in frenzy.

Still, now, I hear them keening:
Those lingering laments, the eulogies of sapling sons
Who mourn the bare, stark skeletons of woodland forebears;

Still, now, I hear them grieving
Long, long after the howling storm’s gone over…yes,
Although I do not speak the language of the trees.

© Lizzie Ballagher 2014

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