to the chestnut tree – Poem

What would you ask an ancient tree?

This ancient horse chestnut tree’s welcoming another spring. The tree’s planted near our local shopping centre and he’s the silent watcher of the neighbourhood. I don’t know how to capture his size and magnificence. Photographs don’t do him justice. I wish I knew how long he’s been here, how deep and far his roots grow. I recently read Peter Wohlleben’s ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ and his insights have deepened my appreciation of the titans watching over our urban areas.

Horse chestnut tree – Dublin 2021

How wonderful would it to ask him some questions. What amazing things has he seen in his lifetime? What did his world look like a hundred years ago? Two hundred years ago? Who were his companions, and what happened to them? Inevitably, I wondered what he thinks of us? The people passing him by every day, the kids climbing his branches, the vandals, the plastic bags, the seasonal decorations? I had to smile: how very human of me to wonder how the tree relates to us. Maybe he’s vaguely aware of our comparatively fleeting existence, but perhaps his thoughts are turned to higher matters, like rain clouds, and deeper matters, like how far his roots stretch into the earth. Even this fantasy seems a romantic and sentimental projection. If you could ask him one question, what would it be?

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Thank you for visiting the Wild Library blog. You might also enjoy Pictures & Poems, and things you find under trees. For more books, poems, and plants have a look at the Wild Library’s Instagram page.

Have a lovely day,

Chantelle

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