“POEMS ARE MADE BY FOOLS LIKE ME …”
One of the few bonuses in this world wide lockdown is that we are all now able to take pleasure from beautiful birdsong.
And that was true for me too until last weekend when our dear neighbour decided to cut down a magnificent tree in his back garden. Apologies for not knowing what tree it actually was. Suffice to say it was beautiful. I would lie in bed and look at it swaying in the breeze, watching the birds flying to and fro from its branches. I had often thought that if I ever became so ill that I had to remain in bed that, at least, I would have this wonderful tree to enjoy.
Alas, no more. A group of men – not socially distancing naturally – have been noisily working on the tree all week. We have been unable to sit outside in this unseasonably good weather because of the ear splitting noise from their chainsaws. (The sound of their tools reminds me that I am well overdue for an appointment at the dentist.) To make matters worse, we have had the incessant sound of their tinny pop music plus having to put up with all their mindless banter which passes for conversation.
Today the tree has gone. Disappeared. It as if it was never there. But the noise continues as they saw up the branches so that all the debris can all be transported away. Aside from the tragic loss of this ancient tree – which I am sure would have been under a preservation order or suchlike – I think of the loss to all the wildlife who must have made it their home.
I remembered this poem, “Trees”, by Alfred Joyce Kilmer who was killed in action in 1918. At least, I remembered the first two lines. The remainder I had to look up.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
With the advent of Covid-19 most of us have no doubt been going through all the stages of grief. Denial, anger, depression and acceptance. The loss of this magnificent tree has made me feel quite bereft. It is a form of bereavement perhaps made even more intense by what we are all currently experiencing.
At any other time, OH (other half) and I would probably would have made a fuss – protested to our neighbour or to the local authority in one way or another. Because this tree, like all the trees in the nearby gardens, was meant to be protected. Preserved. Left alone.
But now one thinks. Get over it. It’s not a human being. However beautiful it was, it was only a tree.
Much better to get upset over the estimated 178,658 thousand human beings who have died so far from Covid-19.