Just before the first time
I could have truthfully said I loved you
We sat beneath a canopy of tree and, though
Our talk was brave in staking claims
To years we weren’t entitled to,
I wasn’t one to carve our names
Within the bark but joining arms
We spanned its girth to guess its age and
As our thoughts were tilted up,
We dated it to Shakespeare’s Final Act
And not the London Plague.

Now, long after I can truthfully say I still love you
The beech nut husks we crunched beneath our feet
Have saplinged thick as lampposts
Readying for other lovers’ measuring arms.

Norman Hadley
“This is about a specific tree my wife and I used to have lunch by, in a time referred to by historians as the late eighties.”

Norman is a poet living in Garstang, UK. His work is online at normanhadley.com.