• Ali Isaac

Winter Trees – A Poem

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

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Winter Trees is an old poem I wrote when I was very young (about 16, so that’s a loooooong time ago!), but Éilis read it recently, and suggested I post it on my blog, and so, as a tentative toe-dipping back into the realms of poetic penmanship, here it is.

Winter Trees

Like tall gaunt un-fleshed skeletons these trees, slaves to a stormy wind, bow and bend and scrape the sky, raking from it tears of cloud-blood with their gnarled and knotted, black old claws, protesting at the rigours of a raging wind.

They have a kind of grace; they perform their dance stiffly like newly-carved puppets with the utmost precision forming movements in a visual language we cannot begin to comprehend but only watch with awe.

The wind finds his voice only in their praying, outstretched arms. He sings, and roars, and weeps of the mysteries, and miseries he has seen on his travels. His wild, moving rhythm is the fierce, magic music to which they contort and set their bovine dance.

If they clothed themselves in rich, summer-green finery, upholding their leafy burdens to the sun’s inspection and praise, I doubt not that soughing wind would do no more than sigh huskily at their noble beauty, bestow them with gentle, gusty kisses.

But now, he exploits their sad nakedness with an enthusiasm which breaks them creaking in two. When he has ripped out their woody hearts and they lie dead and rigid upon ground which once sustained them, he will laughing pass onward to vent a new fury elsewhere,

leaving these pathetic, ruined giants to burn in humanity’s grates.

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