Wind in the poplars talks
when left alone
caught quick by branches
for a minute,
empathising with ravens
whilst the big black shadow surfs high quick wind –
(like the rugged tug of the ocean).

Green crowns
atop heads of bark
that scream when you burn them,
a little boy stood too close
and embers glowing in the iris soon stung –
(forever to remember those poplars
that he can no longer see).

This is what they say
secretive and close
embraced next to the beating heart
hear roots pull water
straight from soil
flow back down with it
to witness the fossilization
of a million dead
drawn between layers of poplar leaves
like lines on a chalkboard
tell the teacher how the slate was formed –
(but she won’t understand
that poplars talk
so I won’t talk either).

Peace only when eyes are closed
carved in the belly
a seat,
as the wind in the poplars whispers –
(hear this, another story).



  1. mr h i'm impressed by this. i think it's fair to say an old fashioned subject but approached well.

    i think probably because of this you could do with underplaying the melodrama a little in section 2 and the line 'her and others' 'i won't talk either
    to her'
    says less, overtly.

    and its just the phrasing in section two seems a bit too 'poetic' and i don't think it needs it. although 'embers glowing in the iris' is lovely.

  2. Yes. Agreed - traditionalist subject matter. I wrote it in Olia's garden in Ukraine, many poplars, wind, ravens - it all fell in the notebook.

    Know what you mean about poetics. I edited this from the original version last week, taking 'I' out of it everywhere bar the bit with the teacher. I think I shall remove 'to her or others' and leave it at either.

  3. Like the idea of wind sat for a minute in tree, and then it --swoosh-very Real
    - Concern for 'all' in 'all secretive&close . .' - all can deceptively deflate things now and again
    - Concern with 'mineral-rich' soil, this distracts somewhat ?
    - Otherwise a good progression of concrete image&feel
    - Wonder about the need to narrate and include humans ?

  4. Agree with removing 'all' and 'mineral-rich'

    i don't like them - that stanza has been causing me problems.

    The poem started life as an 'I did this, thought that' etc - then I took myself out except for one whispered bit )hence the brackets) - humans there as a man / nature development / evolution - emphasised by thoughts of fossilization - trying to get across that humans are also organic creations that will eventually all decompose into soil. It's about the trees making you feel part of everything around and beneath.

  5. Digging now more than then:

    "peace only when eyes are closed
    carved in the belly
    a seat"

    Sometimes ponder "curved" instead.

    Would like to see the original "i did this/that" draft.