North Norfolk Trees

They cling to flat horizons
only to be bent and wizened

by the north wind’s blast
that steams in from the coast.

It sculpts them into humps and twists
that loom from drifting sea mists

as giants, witches and hobgoblins,
wild animals and dragons.

Here and there they come together,
huddling against the weather,

hedgerows, small woods, copses
and swathes of ancient forest.

Trees command the landscape,
broad-leaved warriors that escaped

the Bronze Age deforestation,
once providing food and habitation

for villages and hamlets
spreading at their roots,

now exhaling oxygen to reset
this disintegrating planet.

Kim M. Russell, 22nd March 2021


My response to earthweal weekly challenge: Deforestation (Last Stand at Fairy Creek) on World Poetry Day

Sherry is back this Monday with an essay about Fairy Creek, a forest near to where she lives, ‘some of the very last of the old growth left on Vancouver Island’ that also happens to be unceded Pacheedaht territory, and photographs to show what is happening to beautiful, ancient trees.

Sherry describes what is happening as ‘‘talk and log’ with government, while the logging companies decimate, not just trees, but ecosystems, water systems, habitat for wildlife, the biodiversity necessary for health and survival of all species. Including us. While scientists and conservationists frantically search for technological responses to the climate crisis, they are cutting down the best absorbers of carbon on the planet: trees.’

Sherry has plenty of personal experience of blockading this kind of logging, whereas I have, thankfully, never experienced any large-scale clearing of woodlands or forest where I live. I’m heartbroken whenever our willow has to be pruned away from the overhead power cables that cross our garden and can’t imagine that kind of decimation.  

18 thoughts on “North Norfolk Trees

  1. A beautiful poem. We have those wind-bent scraggly old ones too, on the dunes beside the sea. It is wonderful to think that your Norfolk guardians escaped earlier deforestation. They will have to work extra hard storing carbon, with so many big trees gone across the globe. I feel the same as you when there is even pruning of trees. It is terrible to watch whole forests fall. Heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

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