Trees turned and talked to me

The news with its litany of loss, anxiety and uncertainty is leavened by images of the more-than-human world coming closer to us, encouraged by the lack of traffic, fewer people on the streets and perhaps even the reported reduction in seismic activity.

Google ‘goats in Llandudno’, ‘deer in East London’, ‘wild boar in Bergamo’ and ‘turtles coming ashore in Odisha, India’ for just some examples. In a park in Monmouthshire, sheep have got the hang of a children’s roundabout and are returning day after day. And in Preston too, lambs have been filmed spinning round and round …

I’m in the process of launching a collection of poems that go back a decade. I’ve called it A Speech of Birds, taking the line from Charles Causley’s remarkable poem ‘Healing a Lunatic Boy’ which you can read and listen to here.

This is a poem that has fascinated me for years. I’ve written about it in detail (for New Walk Magazine back in 2015) but am now revisiting it, thinking especially about its title, specifically the use of the word ‘healing’.

Now, it is not so much a boy that is in need of healing, as our world. The boy perhaps stands for the child in all of us, and the next generation, and innocence. Lunatic is a word that resonates today when the moon is at its fullest and everything is heightened.

As I take a daily walk around this corner of Canterbury, I’m listening to the trees and what they might have to say about all this.