I look out of my window today to see sky where there were trees. For two days this week, the recurring whine of a chainsaw has cut through the sounds of passing traffic and the songs of spring. Today, it is quieter, and a small group of tall trees – the tallest I could see looking south from here – are gone, leaving the view tamer, neater, emptier.

So it feels apt to post this poem from last year.




Yesterday I saw three elms,

living elms,


in a secluded corner of a secluded garden,

accidental quarantine.

Markers of an old hedge line

now pressed up to a fence,

beside a wall.

Many trunked, and fringed with whippy stems

of recent growth,

toothed leaves larger than I remember

from years ago

when elm was just another in a list to learn:

oak, ash, horse chestnut, sycamore,

rowan, elder, beech.


There were elms in our garden then

along the wall that marked the boundary

with a nextdoor field

(we dared to trespass once – tiptoeing between dry cowpats).

Then there is a slender memory

of men who came with chainsaws

to cut them down,

to change the shape of the horizon,

and let in more sky.



This is an old charcoal drawing of some other trees, long-dead even at the time, but holding each other up. They too are gone now, and more sun reaches the beck by which they stood.

Copyright © 2014 Fliss Watts


One thought on “Trees

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s