Thursday, 21 November 2019

Scots Pine

by Helen Elsley

The space below a remnant
of Scots Pine forest
is beaten earth, shed needles
twists of fallen branches
lodgepole trunks standing,
warrened about the roots.

On the edge of the moss their
blue tufted clouds
furze far above my head.

Years ago, I was taught to read
discarded cones.
Exploded in a cyclone swirl,
they told a tale of squirrels,
red as the high branches
feasting in unseemly greed.
The neater crossbills
picked their careful harvest
from the armoured scales
of each dud grenade.

Sight and sound dulled down
to the branchless, rough-barked
trunk, I would have lost
their treetop call and coloured flash,
if they didn’t drop
their leavings at my feet.

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