While walking to the Little Asby Hawthorn last week our thoughts revolved not only around this remarkable tree, but also around the land in which it sits. And whenever we walk through open fields and moorland the absence of trees is all the more striking because we’re spending so much time considering trees.  The Little Asby Hawthorn is something of a beacon for other hawthorns and, indeed, for other trees. This poem reflects its own survival and the wider challenge faced by many other trees worldwide.

I used cloth to place the opening lines of the poem onto the trunk, ephemeral as the clouds that sometimes settle on this high piece of ground. The tree itself was not collaborating in the art but the weather was – specifically the wind – and so was I. As I tied the cloth to the tree and then tried to photograph it I curved my spine and cursed, and I rooted myself firmly against a wind strong enough to knock me down, and my fingers bent and ached with the cold. The cloth was whipped and tossed against the bark, and would have raced skyward if it hadn’t been tied down.

and only

despite      wind
despite      hail
and only   this one tree

despite      cold
despite      rock
and only   where roots find earth

despite      sheep
despite      man
and only   resilience

despite       greed
despite       blindness
and only    with good fortune

and only

despite      progress
despite      pollution
and only   limited time


(read the blog about the walk here)

2 thoughts on “despite despite and only

    1. Yes Mel, it was very very cold! My fingers were threatening to become paralysed. And yes, smiling – it’s incredibly enlivening being out in the elements. It’s a lot warmer now so we’ll be basking in sunshine for the next few months … we hope!

      Liked by 1 person

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