Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Idea of Trees

The Idea of Trees

The cherry tree has had its last revenge,
its thirsty roots seeking out a crack
in the drainpipe, prising it wider.
We call the plumber to dig up the driveway.
We think we love trees, but we don't.
We are in love with the idea of trees,
try to make them fit the confines
of our tidy suburban plots of land.
They are not tame. We are surrounded
by their amputated limbs
where we try to keep them clear
of the gutters and power lines.
Remember the peach tree,
the one that the neighbours cut down
two summers ago? First they picked all the fruit,
arrived on our doorstep with overflowing bags.
Two weeks later we were still eating,
juice dripping down our wrists and elbows,
as we savoured the fruit
of a tree that didn’t exist.

- Catherine Fitchett, first published in Takahe, December 2011

I am always uncomfortable about cutting down trees, and yet it is often very necessary in suburban gardens. The cherry tree was behind our former house. Unfortunately we never managed to get many cherries from it, even though they were delicious, as the birds were expert at getting in first. And the tree grew to tower over our two storey house, so it had to go. We also had a large plum tree in front of the house. When I revisited the area recently I found that the new owners had removed it. The front yard looks very bare to me now, but the difference in the amount of light reaching inside is amazing.

Lately, I have been reluctantly cutting down trees from our new section, trying to get more light onto the vegetable garden. There are dozens, so I'm hoping the ones I remove won't be missed, eventually. We plan to replace some of them with fruit trees, probably dwarf varieties.

All these tree cutting activities reminded me of the poem.

Helen Lowe has also posted one of my poems for Tuesday Poem this week. Visit her blog to read Blue.
And for more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

1 comment:

leonie wise said...

We have friends who have bamboo growing under their house. It's an old house, with clay pipes, and they're constantly getting a blocked loo because the bamboo roots grow into (and clog) their pipes - yikes!

We had a big tree outside the kitchen window when I was younger that was felled to make space for a pantry. I didn't understand it at the time, but realise now it was diseased and had to go anyway.