Last week, at our Quaker meeting, out of the gathered silence, a short phrase kept popping into my head. It didn’t insist on being said, as these things sometimes do; it wanted to be written down, and put into action. So here it is: PLANT TREES. Now to work out how; there are already as many trees here as one small urban garden can support. But somehow it seems really, really important, and urgent. So here it is; I’m writing it down for all to see, or at least the few of you who read this!
Pondering it whilst hanging out the washing, other words started to wrap themselves around it, and it’s ended up as a poem. With apologies for inflicting it on you all, here goes:
See the bright flags of our defiance stream against the winter sky,
watch weeds nose through tarmac and reach for the sun.
Taste the food of freedom, nourished by compost and wrapt in eggshells.
Hear blackbirds shatter the dawn and snowflakes hiss through skybound twigs.
Feel the wind lift your hair, the sun on your back, cold sea foam kiss your toes,
Smell the roses, home-baked bread, slow-brewed coffee,
Pick berries, brew beer, plant trees and remember…
Life doesn’t only flourish in the nine-to-five. Money isn’t all.
Dump the daily crush, forget blurry morning rituals,
Leave the dull grey air, the plastic tumbleweed, behind
with the overflowing in-tray and the mumble-jumble talking heads.
Walk away from glittering windows and eye-watering prices.
Leave your cards behind, walk away from this empty game,
and hear the roar of people whispering – enough.
If we won’t play – game over.
Fingers burned by the pie in the sky,
half-baked from illusions and slathered in greed, we turn away,
or fall with it, crushed by the debts of millions, stacked & sliced.
Walk away, turn your back before it pulls you in and sucks you dry; it can’t be saved.
Gather round campfires, sing songs, tell dawntime stories,
plant trees, remember, grow and flourish!