Tom's last poem
I’m sheltering in the hole made by a tree
which must have been knocked down sometime today.
Its torn-up roots are angled over me,
keeping off the force-ten gale’s melee.
It’s sixteen weeks now since my gruesome sighting
-a de-horned unicorn with pecked-out eyes
beside a road. The poems I was writing
I printed off and posted for a prize,
and now I rove and doss down in the dark
beneath the stars. Tonight the wind’s turned frisky
so I use this refuge in a Country Park
which suits me fine, though some would think it risky
-the trunk’s near-horizontal but the crown
is rocking up-and-down-and-up-and-down.
But ask yourself now: which one is the bummer?
-a thoughtful man who’s living as a tramp,
or one that has the air-con on all summer
then radiators blazing at the damp,
or drives a massive car at great velocity
making pointless journeys to and fro?
-these storms that pound with gathering ferocity
are stoked by fossil fuels, as we know.
Since no-one shows concern for future pain
I’ll do as they do: risk this gnarled and sinewed
oak tree rocking upright once again.
My chances match the odds for the continued
survival of our power hungry towns:
I bowed to Arno’s view when I learned even
magic unicorns could not be saved.
I’ll live for here-and-now while I’m still breathing
-this hole may be my haven or my grave.
The roots are rocking closer to my head
but all I think’s how fitting it would be
for one who’s just as happy live or dead
if I became nutrition for a tree.
My words may fail but Hey!... my body could be
a battery for the planet’s power grid,
energising life into this good tree.
This slab of soil would be my coffin lid.
This mat of roots could be my burial gown.
It’s rocking up-and-