Meditating over lakeshore meadows
a rocky pate dressed in arboreta.
On the fringe cling the claws of
spindly birches, heads hanging
in reverence to majestic beeches
and their retinue of aspiring oaks.

In a clearing where an onslaught of
storms felled an aged beech
and devastated its neighbours,
now dares stand a dozen or so
upstarts in tubular plastic armour,
sceptical of beech mast and acorns.

An island of shelter for sheep,
a no-look-in look-out for teenagers’
beer bottle binges and can dumping,
a path trap of root trips set for
schools of cross-country capers,
a hide-and-seek child’s playground.

The wood marks seasons’ time with
changing landscapes and moving vistas:
through the tracery of winter branches
observe a house that views us famously:
while summer canopy cut-outs intervene
distancing the faded forest ridge beyond.

Maybe here is a witches’ holiday retreat
from higher hills or wider woody heaths,
shifting shadows in the spellbound copse
from where wood pigeons and crows flee,
answering the cries of the shedded fox hounds
as the wide-eyed moon slips slyly by.


Lorna Cooper lives in Coniston, Cumbria. Much of her poetry is inspired by her local landscape. This small wood covers a low hill between the road near the Ship Inn and Coniston Water.  In winter the view includes Brantwood on the east side of the lake. Another of Lorna’s poems, Looking at Birches, is featured here.