Ode to an Old Oak Tree

An ancient oak tree in Oxfordshire, with an approximate age of 1046 years.

Trees are not just an unsung wonder of nature; they sentinels of time, weather watchers, keeper of memories, the signature of all things visible and invisible. Some trees can live for thousand of years, the equivalent of a Biblical Methuselah. An encounter with a thousand year old (and still living) oak tree in England inspired the following poem.


A low light is floating
in the garden, gilding
its shy crown leaf by leaf.
I stand under its meagre shade,
like two living shadows
twined in the day’s preamble.
Unbidden, ancient birdsong
reverberates from its weathered boughs,
the same ones that
witnessed nations rage and fall,
drank a hundred summers drought
and bathed in the mists
of a thousand winters cold.
I’m glad the songs echoed for me,
like the sound of running waters
flowing through the rivers of time,
flowing from another world
to this one.

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