Friday, 19 April 2019

Review ~ Ten Poems about Trees

Candlestick Press
March 2019

My thanks to Kathy and Diane at Candlestick for my copy of this poetry pamphlet

Many of us have a favourite tree. It may be one we remember from childhood – a tree we loved to climb in or swing from or hide behind. Or perhaps it’s one of the ancient and majestic yews or oaks that stand sentinel in churchyards and on village greens, hardly seeming to change as the human years hurry by.

This beautiful selection celebrates the glory and mystery of all manner of trees – from David Constantine’s apple tree clothed in frost to Alistair Elliot’s birch waving its ‘delicate hair’ in the breeze.

“I’m thankful to the trees outside my window” says Moniza Alvi at the beginning of her quietly rhapsodic poem of yearning of the same name. This is tree-love of the everyday kind – the simple pleasure of looking out on a garden from which familiar trees look back. We can almost imagine they’re keeping us company.

Poems by Moniza Alvi, Paul Batchelor, David Constantine, Alistair Elliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, DH Lawrence, Kim Moore, Louisa Rhodes, Ruby Robinson and Edward Thomas.

Cover illustration by Richard Shimell.

Published in memory of Alistair Elliot.

Donation to Woodland Trust.

My thoughts..

There is something rather special about walking through one of our ancient woodlands and seeing the imposing majesty of trees as they dance and sway in the breeze. And there is nothing prettier than the delicate pink of a cherry blossom tree as it heralds in the first sign of spring. And regardless of where there are placed, or how majestic their foliage, trees are such an important feature of our landscape so they should be cherished and protected.

© J A Barton

In Ten Poems about Trees we are give a whole arboretum of wonderful poems about the stark beauty of trees in all their various guises and, as always, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

I was so pleased to see that one of my favourite authors, DH Lawrence, who starts the collection with his charming poem:

 "Trees in the Garden

Ah in the thunder air
how still the trees are!"

And I was equally delighted to see the work of the poet, Edward Thomas, who I know from his work as a WW1 poets, featuring with this contemplative poem:


Aspens must shake their leaves and men may hear
But heed not listen.."

In Ten Poems about Trees there really is something for everyone, from the quirky Tree Climbing by Paul Batchelor, to the stark beauty of Yew Tree by Louisa Rhodes and, as always, the publishers have got the balance  and sentiment of poems exactly right. This beautiful collection reminds us that trees come in all shapes and sizes and have such a diverse effect on our emotions, the landscape and the world around us.

Candlestick Press is a small, independent press publishing sumptuously produced poetry pamphlets that serve as a wonderful alternative to a greetings card, with matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message. Their subjects include Clouds, Walking, Birds, Home and Kindness. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.

Twitter @poetrycandle

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