The Orestan Oak
(edited 17th March 2021)
communing with nature; a tribute to, and a potted history of the Orestan Oak, a magnificent tree which stands guard at the top of the lane.
we pass it, the dogs and I, every day
as they strain leashed down the steep hill
scrambling to reach their place to shit,
then cock their scent into its roots,
which radiate deep, rise and coil
eye-browed above turned soil and tarmac.
I wait stopped, follow the sculpture –
branches splintering the dawn sky,
brittle arms yearning, stretching far,
tips spanning both road and time,
its memories stored in each ring
of flesh that’s been slowly layered;
its planting by the Armada’s First Lord,
sleek hansoms wheeling to the Manor,
sweated farmhands breaking at the Plough,
the outrageous Teddy trouping past
clearing the way for Gwen to pursue her love,
Barnes Wallis wondering “will it bounce?”,
travellers pitching a permanent camp,
the discrete weight of couples carving
their names into its crustaceous bark
(more recently marred by the words
“suck my dick” over a fading image
poorly graffitied of an ejaculating penis;
the testosteronic work of growing boys) –
and wonder why it holds, stills my eye;
It binds in simple knots earth to sky,
beneath my touch its tremors tuned
to the rhythm of the universal heart.
into its song I too am subsumed.