The Shotover Oak
It stood on the hill four hundred and fifty years,
until drought damage dried it to a husk,
so it lay down to kiss the sandy soil.
A king tree at a climax of succession, soul so expanded
that it could see the ways of people are nothing
but a foolish costume party, best avoided.
Eco system for legions of dependents,
it knows how easy it is to mistake agreement for truth.
If you listen closely at the harshly trimmed stump
it will tell you that the biggest influence on belief
is what is broadcast locally by downy ash and stretching oak.
It can speak on human bandwidth any time it chooses.
Wait, it counsels. Be still. Feel the great wheel turn.
Alison Jones is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom. Her pamphlet, ‘Heartwood’ was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018, with a second pamphlet ‘Omega’ forthcoming.