Woodland Sanctuary


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As I crested the hill, I gasped for air.

The climb had been steep

And my aging lungs...inept.


My reward was an arboreal oasis!

I sat down, gladly, to gather my breath,

On a seat-shaped log from a fallen tree.


Regaining consciousness, I looked around,

Amazed at the tree trunk cross-sections,

The whorls and swirls of hard timber,

Strewn hither and thither across the ground.

Nascent chairs, tables, and sideboards

Were left there exposed to the elements,

Their potential lay unrealised, unassembled.


I had stumbled into a woodland graveyard!

There were tell-tale signs of a circular saw-

Dismembered victims from a long-dead war-

Great hunks piled randomly at the side of the road.

A dangerous tree had been brought down to size!

It was enough that this tree-trunk was out of the way.

We’ll save conservation for another day!

Leave all the bits to lie just where they fall,

We’re living in Yorkshire, after all!


Like the stories of my life, the chunks were laid out

Haphazardly, fruitlessly filling an empty space.

Each section had arrived there just by chance.

An abstract artwork installation, depicting

The randomness of Fate.


This tree was no longer heaven bound,

But at least its essence was still around!

Perhaps, light-headed from my dizzying climb

Or overcome by poetic sensibility,

This vista assumed a sudden beauty.

It was ‘Nature framed in a tranquil scene,’

It was ‘An Indolent Giant’s Final Jigsaw,’

Damien Hirst’s ‘Deconstructed Tree,’


And at least the brute hadn’t fallen on me!




◄ The Scan

Stuck in the Mud ►


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John Botterill

Mon 16th May 2022 10:03

Thanks Stephen. You have rightly picked up on my ambivalence. Super comment, as ever.

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Stephen Gospage

Mon 16th May 2022 07:05

I always have mixed feelings about tree cutting, John, and I think you reflect these in the poem. It usually needs to be done, but there is a sadness in seeing an old tree dismembered. Thanks for this.

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John Botterill

Sun 15th May 2022 20:43

Thanks Holden, Nigel and KJ for the likes. 😊

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