I was only just getting to know you.
And now you are gone.
Your familiar shape, a kindness
in the hedgerow,
a place for staring birds.
You rendered light
into dancing shade for cattle
dark eyed in grateful stillness.
You embraced all who climbed
your paternostered limbs
to them you were storied,
a fortress of life.
In winter, you were gesture and recrimination,
the sky comb.
Your roots entwined themselves between
my sunlit memories.
The legends of your gifts:
Quinine barked, beetle scrambled
your trunk was cleft
and the child passed through.
Your strength would heal their limbs.
Bound back together, you survived.
Yet chalara felled you.
Like the Constabled elms before,
dry-brushed, scumbled in the memory of broad leafed summers,
you are going away.
Your light will never dance again, jittering on the road,
or your shadows stoop at the golden hour.
My favourite places were hallowed by you
the sweet stand in the lower meadow
the rake by the burn.
Now I find you cankered,
a hollow carcass that won't hear apologies
the last throw of the dice
has gone with the staring angel.
No ring of twigs,
laid around you by moonlight
in old magic's name
will stay this.
In the corners of the wood,
by the stream banks and road sides
you issue the last fanfare of leaves.
Quiet cambium, you
will rise no longer in the world
which carries on,
careless of your passing.
Copyright Iain Robinson 2018