Huge, huge thank you to all who entered our ‘Tree in my neighbourhood‘ Poetry Competition. Such beautiful writing. We absolutely loved them all. Ross Gillett our judge, took his role very seriously and deliberated for 10 days. He wrote …

RossIt was a pleasure reading these entries – all of them had something unique and passionate to say about a loved tree. My winner is The Old Lady (Brittany Thompson), which gives us a whole tree biography, a tree life being lived out before our eyes – and it’s a life that records the human experiences around it: “her skin is tattooed with dreams, wishes, initials and lovers declarations./Inked generation after generation”. A big poem about a big tree.

To show that small poems can pack a punch, my runner-up is Hey Tree (Jill Clarke), with its very smartly delivered and quietly humorous note of thanks to a tree that turns out to be a home for the Raven family as well as a location for (I want one) a micro bat box.

Brittany's tree

Brittany’s tree

Here is Brittany’s poem.

The old lady
The old lady stands on the corner of the playground.
Bent, but taller than the two story classrooms. The yard is empty – void of laughter and children’s cries.
It is night.
Her arms sway with the gentle breeze – a branch snaps. A possum crawls down her knurled fingers in search of food – awake with the coming of night.
She sighs.
Her feet are long and ugly. They have tripped many, causing heartache and pain.
They have been sat on and jumped on – yet are still strong.
She is old.
Her womb is barren. Yet she has nurtured generations.
Loved and cared for them as her own and shared her warmth.
She is deaf.
But has heard the secrets and heartaches of the school yard children, and their children.
She has laughed at their calamities and cried with them.
She is blind.
Yet she knows each individual, from the size of their palm, to the weight of their foot, to the kiss they leave on her wrinkled skin.
She wears bland clothes.
But her skin is tattooed with dreams, wishes, initials and lovers declarations.
Inked generation after generation.
She has no income and charges no rent.
The possums and birds nest and return year after year. Always open she never rejects. Expanding to fit her increasing tenants.
But…
She is weary
She is lonely
The gates banged shut last Friday – silencing her cries.
The padlock was fastened.
Separated from her children she stands yearning – waiting, hoping, praying, for their safe and quick return.
It is holidays.

Copyright. Brittany Thompson 2015

 

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Brittany, we will be posting out your prize (beautiful pack of BASK products) next week. And Jill Clarke, I have a BASK hand creme for you. Everyone who entered will also have trees planted on their behalf to help reduce their carbon footprint.

Thank you Siobhan McCuskey from BASK who is supplying this prize. Check out her range of beautiful organic skin care products. Siobhan, the creator of BASK is my amazing sister and I can’t plug/use her products enough.

Once again, thank you all for taking the time to sit and write about a tree in your neighbourhood.

Slainte – Colleen