150 Years 150 Poems!

Redwood Avenue at Benmore Garden

Redwood Avenue at Benmore Garden

 Sierra Redwood Avenue

50 sierra redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum) were planted in 1863 to create Benmore’s beautiful redwood avenue.  To celebrate their might, and, in Redwood terms youthful age, throughout June we are seeking to collect and publish here 150 4 line poems.  Send your poems in the comments space below or through our Facebook page   https://www.facebook.com/WalkingWithPoets maybe, with a picture! 

Well, we have made it … still a few hours to go, and we can coast to the end of June!  Keep your poems coming and enjoy reading.

COUNT DOWN TO 150 ………. 174 poems celebrating 150 years of Redwood Avenue

Redwood Ancestry by Gwynn Scheltema-Anderson
Born beneath yellow blossomed African acacia
Cool green Canadian maple now canopies overhead
Still my Scottish ancestors call…
Are you the ones whispering, redwoods?

Untitled by Alex
Oh tree so tall
Oh tree so wide
How still you stand
The tests of time

Untitled by Cassandra Oliphant
A space for me to walk amongst Grandfathers,
ancestors whispering secrets
from before and beyond,
safe in your shadows as you dance, deeply rooted.

Redwoods by Pippa Little
old mothers
you shade your children
wait patiently
for us to grow

When you look too far  by Karen French
From which tree did the paper of my notebook spring?
Its bleached perfection is ripe for eye and ink twinned destruction.
From every tree I take shade under that summer,I want to take more
I shave off a new,coiled page and watch the words seep.

Survival by Billy
Standing above an evening sky
Like some ancient weary travellers
These ancient beings from another world
Will hopefully survive to see another day

The Same by Trinath Gaduparthi, India
We are the same.
Reflect the light within.
A thought photosynthesis.
Spread the word pollen.

Untitled by Judith Taylor
Many things I won’t miss
when I leave here
But oh
the ash tree

On the shoreline steep and green by Liz Lough, South Wales
In New South Wales there grows a tree,
tall with silvery sheen
and roots deeper than the sea.
Outside my window, on my lawn,
in Old South Wales a tree is born,
grows tall and proud with leafy crown
it’s roots coming up from Sydney town.

Olympic Legacy by Val Dunmore
They did not fell the trees,
some talk of carbon footprints saved their lives.
Sucked into contrete, suffocated, shrunk,
the silver birch, the oak, the perfumed lime.

Shamans by Paul Mallon, Glasgow
Grand and tall, sleeping in the snow,
Seeding brethren in the valley and
Glens. The changing Others walk amongst you
with axe and saw, cutting, what tales can you tell?

Sad trees by Rosemary Owen, Glasgow
Puck’s Hut:
A beacon in the distance.
Trees dance to the melancholy of the wind
As I descend.

Untitled and anonymous
Tall, tall trees
with green, green leaves
are nature’s key.
This I now see.

160 POEMS

Smiles by Beth 
Trees are beautiful. Trees are clean.
Without them where would we be?
They are part of us as we grow.
They have seen the past that we used to know.
They saw our ancestors happy and alive.
These trees will be here long after we’ve died,
for the next generation to come along
and see they beauty trees provide.
Trees bring smiles to all mankind.

O mighty tree by Clinton Thompson
How fine thee look to me. Strong,
fast winds may blow. Snow may fall
but still thee grow mighty and tall.
Fire may scorch thee and cut thee down,
but we need wood to make more towns.

A song of green by Frances Mowat, Zimbabwe
Trees are what give us life.
They are the things that take away strife.
It is their songs they sing,
that make us fly from our given wing.
It is the colour green
that enhances what we’ve seen.
It is to trees that we can never repay
all the words they have let us say.

So little peace by Neil
There seems to be so little peace in the world, nation against nation, race
against race, creed against creed.
Yet in a garden, plants from around the globe co-exist in harmony.

Benmore by Neil
Redwood, Ironwood, Stringwood,
Pines of Yellow, Red, Black and White.
No hostility here –
Continents collide in tranquillity.

Hanging on by Neil
Roots grasping bank, like twisted arthritic fingers,
Exposed and vulnerable yet strong and protective.
Tree and soil cling together in symbiotic companionship
While the cold river moves on without a backward glance.

Struggle by Neil
A tree struggles for support and survival.
Meanwhile, the soil itself is in need of protection.
Everything in our world is indelibly linked to everything else whether it is
Aware of it or not – no man is an island.

Our Tremendous, Tall, Terrific Tree Poem by Strachur Primary School
Tickly, big, bumpy, soft, rough, pink, trees.
Redwood trees in a midge-swarming, spikey, green, giant, yellow, fabulous park.
Every trunk is a delicious, squidgy, creamy, banana pie with a thick, brown crust.
Every tree makes me feel happy, surprised and really small and we want to climb them.

Introducing the Cool Fabulous Trees by Strachur Primary School
Tall, tatty, fat, colourful, water-drinking trees with long, stringy important, straw-like roots.
Redwood trees in a big, enormous, exciting, pretty, woodland avenue.
Every trunk feels squidgy, like cardboard, springy, mossy, wild, crazy, flaky, like a house for squirrels and birds, bristly, deadly.
Every tree makes me feel good, happy, silly, energetic, small, funny, like dancing and playing the bongo drums.

Home by Tony
I am home …
Home to the bugs, home to the birds
Home to the butterflies,  home to the worms
Home to the creatures that fly and return.

150 POEMS

The Back-of-An-Envelope  by David
Exploration, Discovery, Contemplation;
Inspiring, provoking, season;
Essential, Dynamic, Majestic Nature.
Our vulnerable communal garden.

A suggestion by Maj, Ayr
How beautiful are the trees I see
When I am with my family.
The beauty and the sharing,
Let us be loving and caring.

Colin, Kentucky, USA
I

images[1]Trees

 Freedom
Find a tree
That speaks to me
Whispering secrets
Of how to be free

Robbie by JimHenry of Great Amwell
Robbie the reindeer of willow was made,
by beautiful people with binding and blade.
Flower bedecked, four feet tall,
he stands at the entrance to welcome you all.

Blairmore Redwood by Janice Hampson
My roots are in the soil of Benmore,
My canopy in the moist air of the glen.
But far away from my native land
Like the Scots diaspora I make my mark.

Untitled by Ali McDonald
Our little man, so tall inside
Stood beneath the giant trees
Listening to their whispering leaves
Laughing at the lickery dogs

Untitled by Aissagallie
Amongst the trees,
My children are pointing.
Lifting their faces to the sky,
And smiling.

150 years by Isabel
No-one alive today remembers first-hand; but we
have books, newspapers, photographs… We have
the trees, too: their roots reach down
through history, their branches finger the future.

Benmore’s Redwoods by Frances Hendron
Survivors all fifty,
Testament to hope and endurance
Steadfast with dignity and
Respect for tomorrows

Immigrants by Frances Hendron
They didn’t choose Scotland, or Benmore
Now tall beyond tall
This place is home
Success shared.

140 POEMS

Untitled by Fenella Copplestone
The redwoods came as couples
rooted themselves, proud pioneers,
Pledged themselves to the wondering people,
Raised over them their  Western canopy of peace.

Temple by Amy McDonald
Tucked amidst a mountainside
winding.
Still, straight majesty
holding of breath.

Tingle Tree by Fiona Ritchie Walker
Elephant bark cleft by forest fire,
heartwood burned so earth sees sky.
Still the buttress feeds distant branches,
bouquets of green stretching to the sun.

Seasons o’ Scotland by Jason Henderson
Fae oor Scottish Simmer, the sin is lang staw,
An’ Autumn’s sae dreich as the runkelt leaves faw.
Than in stevels Winter, wae yon mirk an’ snaw
Bit the hansel o’ Ware is new life fir aw.

150 Years by Drew McNaughton (for my Great-great grandfather Malcolm McNaughton who made the journey to the far west)
Great wheel of time, fourfold seasons;
Four elements transforming, merging and dissolving;
Four ages of man, from birth to bodach,
To the fourth generation: dendrochronology.

The Winter Trees by Rob McNaughton
The winter trees stand mostly un-admired
‘Tis clothes of leaves and colour that attract the common eye
Yet winter brings black lace against the leaden sky
To thrill and chill all those who choose to be inspired.

The Crippled Cherry Tree by Rob McNaughton
This cherry tree does not adorn my garden daily
For some cruel hand has wrecked its once symmetric form
And now for fifty weeks it stands crippled, unloved and forlorn
Except in spring when gentle blossom drapes its broken branches, proud and gaily

Untitled by Gill Watson
A russet trunk
shines in the sun
beneath cappuccino foam
of white spring blossom

Untitled by Gill Watson
Against majestic redwoods,
delicate birches are fairy folk,
with a spring froth of gold
above slender silver wands.

The tallest tree in the forest by Tony
From here the green undulates for miles
From the incoming sea to the rising of the mountains
Short and tall, wide and strong all reaching for the sky
But I am the tallest and I watch over them all.

130 POEMS

Comfortable I bathe in the deep soil of the forest … planning.
I’m ready to reach out – Maybe soon.
If I move fast I can get it finished in a few years … maybe less than twenty
A new branch, time to reach out and grasp forever

My son Luke by Luke’s Dad, Mildenhall
I want my son to be happy and healthy
and confident enough to be whatever he dreams.
I hope he’s handsome as a Redwood tree
and that life’s storms don’t blow him over.

My dad John by Luke, Mildenhall
Jokes he tells are pants. His clothes aren’t cool.
Often he yells and tells me off for no reason at all.
He’s an oak with strong branches and deep roots. I’m an acorn.
Not the finest mahogany is worth more than him.

Our Patchwork Teamwork Poem 
Tall, terrific, tremendous trees.
Redwood trees in a hilly, Scottish jungle.
Every trunk feels spongy and tickly and like a baked potato or an elephant.
Every tree makes me feel excited, small, hungry and like sleeping on the grass or the stars.
Tall trees in a garden that smells of strawberries and butter and chocolate spread.
Redwood trees in a garden full of seeds, leaves, castles, spider’s webs, midges, water and a fishy fountain.
Every trunk feels like a monkey, stones, a crocodile or a fluffy shark.
Every tree makes me feel happy, excited and noisy and I want to run fast down the Avenue.

Monkey puzzle tree by Siobhan Gurney, Warwick
Where is the monkey? The puzzle?
I used to run past one on the way to school.
I was terrified that ravenous chimpanzees
would jump out and gobble me up.

Storm Trees by Alex Storm Hague, Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire
Oh tree so tall
Oh tree so wide
How still you stand
The tests of time

TREES by Sally, Norfolk

I

I asked a child to draw a tree.
From the cluttered playroom, he
looked out the window, crossed a long perpendicular line
with a short horizontal. Not like this, he said, but it was wood. It could have been.

II

Here are some words that exist to put trees in your head.
Holloway Road on a No 17 –  not a paper world, but bricks and stone
lined with sycamore, limes and London plane – a solace to busyness.
If all of them were bread and cheese, it wouldn’t be the same.

III

Brothers and sisters was how Piers Patrick saw them,
picturing the massive avenue – giganteums
he planted in memory of what we are,
we were, and will be. Avatars.

120 POEMS

Untitled by Barbara Clark
Is it roots of trees that hold
the earth together?
If all the trees died,
would earth disintegrate?

Trees by Laird Gypsey Pete
Walking in the avenue
my stick by my side
looking at the richness
off the mighty Redwood sky

Untitled by Barbara Clark
Is there a certain vanity
in the trees that carry blossom?
Do they know their transient beauty
outshines their fruitless friends?

Opening Day by Gypseypete
Come all you hither
Let’s look to the ground
Benmore gate’s have re-opened
and the redwood’s aound

Healing Tree by Mandy J. Beattie
My curves cuddle into Redwood’s craggy crevices
Like a Banyan tree its warm-wood-wisdom wends my in-roads
Earthy essence, soothing salve. Shelters. Succours.
Slaked – Aloe Vera dew drops, after drought

Untitled by Colin Waters
O! Mighty tree lord! Where grows thou spire?
Into the sky where burns a mighty fire.
Aye, the sun be its name, it burneth good,
Shades the brown ground and red wood.

The Redwood Gauntlet by Jamie McCready
I walked the red wood gauntlet,
I walked in prayer, you scourged my back.
I gave you a sorry, you gave me a gift.
Me a repentant, you; elders of Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin.

Cowal’s Monument by Jamie McCready
We will not rust, we do not rot,
Your sculptures will fall to their knees.
When yours are gone, we’ll still stand tall
Shouting the name of Cowal to all.

Benmore Ent Wives by Jamie McCready
From Birnam to Benmore you trekked in pairs,
To dance for a thousand years.
The Ent wives of Cowal are waiting to ceilidh
while we Hobbits step on your toes.

Untitled by Josie Emmerson, Detroit
I wonder how many flies and beetles and mites
and grubs and larvae and creatures
I don’t even know the name of, live in a Redwood tree.
Multiply that by fifty and I start to itch.

110 POEMS

Skyscrapers by Dorothy Ramone, Detroit
No concrete and glass just living wood.
No lifts and offices and restaurants.
No traffic, just grass in their shade
and the shade of my long, long shadow

Logs for the fire by Sylvie, Great Amwell
As the easterly wind whistled through the branches,
dead leaf confetti rained down
on the woodcutter with his axe held high,
oblivious to the long drawn out sigh,
of the tree.

Try Hugging by Octavia, Great Amwell
Have you hugged a tree today and listened to its sigh,
or hurried down the avenue and simply passed them by.
Did you look into the branches as the sun shone through the oak,
or played a game on your mobile phone while waiting for the bus.
Stop, look, you are missing so much.

Looking my best by Toby, Great Amwell
Bursting with new buds and blossom in springtime
or heavily adorned with summer fruit.
Perhaps in autumn as my leaves turn red and gold,
or winter naked, shimmering with a touch of frost.
It takes so much energy to always look my best.

The Dream by Sylvie, Great Amwell
I had a dream that the trees had all gone,
no leaves in the river or wind full of song,
nowhere to shelter from rain or the sun,
or hide in the park when having fun,
the sky full of birds, no nests to be seen,
but it’s ok, don’t worry, it was just a dream.

A Birthday Tree by Gerald, Great Amwell
Magnolia with large creamy blossoms in spring
or camellia, pink, yellow, white,
sweet flowering cherry that sways in the wind,
all very beautiful, but which should I buy,
I just can’t decide however hard I try.

A lost brown bear by Georgie, Great Amwell
look in the tree,
the long neck of a giraffe but no head,
two scuffed shoes on the end of bruised legs,
lie on the grass, look into the tree,
see what you can find.

You by Hazel Harrison, Rochdale
Tall and majestic, you stand above me.
I crane my neck to see your top.
Your age is greater than my own.
You’ve seen so much, yet to me unknown.

Versatile by Mrs Evelyn Wray, Edinburgh (whose uncle served in Burma in WWII)
Some bamboo is food for pandas. Some
is used for canes and furniture. Some grows fast
as a cheetah or a formula one racing car.
In WWII, bamboo was used to cage men.

Generations by Chris
The children run laughing until
they are tiny under the vast
redwood columns – children of
my children, running still.

image100 poems

Crossing the Red Sea by Marion McCready
Walking your avenue is like crossing the Red Sea,
each height-hungry tree holds back a full force tide.
I mouth your names as if they are the names of God:
wawona, toos-pung-ish, hea-mi-withic.

Sierra Redwoods by Marion McCready
Wind plays the Sierra Redwood xylophone.
I know your heights, the breadth of your bones
but how far under my feet do you go?
Digging your root-heels into the centre of the earth.

Women of the Avenue by Marion McCready
Whoever comes to this garden must enter through me
and my forty-eight sisters. Our thunder-roots meet
under a grass-sea. Our brittle limbs rise,
catching fog, learning survival day by day.

Untitled by ‘Don’t Confuse the Narrator’
Through the long hours
of the longest days,
the linden hums
with honeyed promises

New Horizon by Rosemary Owen
Sun at my back, on my shoulders
Glistening on my hair bedecked with wildflowers
I move forward, light on my feet
Picking my way over rocks, past boulders
I smile brightly, sun-kissed

Step out to the sandstone ledge and, like a proud redwood,
serenely view the visionary horizon ahead.

My Week Ahead by Paul Mallon
What would it look like for seven days to pass?
What would it look like for seven nights to pass?
What would it look like?
I will tell you what it would look like.

The word on the sheet would be unchanged.
The image on the page would be unchanged.
It would look like it does today.
Except it would be bitter.

The first morning is always toughest.
It begins early with the worm.
It’s a cold chair, a pencil and paper.
A time of silence.

It’s the squeeze of the pain:
The pain to creation.
The discipline of grammar and punctuation.
Oh shit, I should have paid more attention at school.

When you look too far by Karen French
From which tree did the paper of my notebook spring?
Its bleached perfection is ripe for eye and ink twinned destruction.
From every tree I take shade under that summer, I want to take more
I shave off a new, coiled page and watch the words seep.

Gathered by Martha Pollard
Craning my neck at the giants
They stooped to brush-sweep my skin.
All I could do was keep silence
As the Redwoods gathered me in.


Untitled by Udita Banerjee

I inhaled your ancient smell,
And forgot my cares.
I found, in your arms
The universe… — at The Hermitage.

Untitled by Solomon Scribble
The tree of my dream
Tense as knuckles-
An old man’s
Throaty whisper

90 poems

Untitled by Gordon Roberts
John Muir gazed in awe upon them
In the California wilderness.
He saw their age
We their youth

The tree speaks by Helen Evans
Take and give.
Love and leave.
Grow and grieve.
Live with if.

Untitled by Siobhan McNamara
How to measure
the passage of time?
Stand by a redwood
and look ……. up.

Tree Life by Rose Ritchie
Water and soil
A seed is planted in one womb deep in the earth
Time passes and a root appears
Now we know this tree is truly alive

Gigantium by Donna Thompson
Wood red towers dapple light in complement to green and gray pathways.
Ben’s more’s , no less, suggest supple whispers of voluminous deeds.
Centuries new conifers are the verse of Bryant , Byron, you, me, HERE, global.
Computer bridges under leafy canopies define virtual realism.

Untitled by J HendronKerr
Roots descend into the earth
seeking nutrients from the dirt
Branches reach into the sky
and leaves absorb life from light

Untitled by Georgi Gill
Vandals, we’d lie on the hill and pick the blades apart,
time and again, unpeeling cigarette rolls of new shoots.
Now we only view the hill from the road; it’s gorse
not grass that moves me – stubborn and bright, a survivor.

Untitled by Zoe King
Know that acorns will split,
desert their cups,
flesh to saplings battling
for air, for light, for rootroom.

Untitled by Nikki Macgennis
Midsummer:
A soundless celebration
green fireworks
in broad daylight

Untitled II by Nikki Magennis
leaves without number
crowd the summer
rain without pause
wets every tree

80 poems

Untitled III by Nikki Macgennis
we coppice the willow
moving back and forth
dappled alternately
by light and shelter

Untitled by Forbes Brown
It rears up from Dichty’s bank
this monster: multi-limbed,
crocodile-skinned, over-awing
the geans and sycamores.

Timbre and Pitch by Ruth E Walker
Across the deep whale roads
white pines whisper and long to meet
tall redwood elders, not yet uprooted
sawn and salt-bound to duty

Snow Song by JL Williams
In a mountainside
garden, the angle of sun
predicts the flowers’

pitch of song.  White bells
summon white moths from beds of
white petals.  Summer

is an aria
of snow-coloured blossoms, a
tender prophecy.

Untitled by David Sneddon
The proud and the boastful,
the rich and the mostful
are left leaving lowlier
in Giant Sequoia.

Untitled by Rosie Maplebeck
collected in hope from western halls
I sailed over foam to make highland roots
my trunk now your mast
connecting us to infinity

4 Generations by me by Helen
4 photographs on the wall in a row
Lily, Sandra, Harris, and now me
Who will be there tomorrow
Posing under the Redwood Tree

Untitled by Loveday Why
Even the word ‘boat’ windlifts a heart
even its trees leaning apart even the sound
of breeze turning through shadows and
through spray and through the long dark

Untitled by Alice Bethune Spicer
That sinewy umber limb you stretched out on this morning
Brushing late-burst leaves over your face
Now cavorts with the reckless wind
Such fickle whims at such great heights

Kinship by Jennifer Wong
Here in the shadow of this strong Acacia tree
Grandfather and I played our last game
of chess. He won, as usual; around us
so many windswept leaves and yellow flowers.

70 POEMS

Untitled by Kirsty McKale, (Teacher, Kaimes School)
Kaimes School kids from Edinburgh leap
run, rush to listen in the dark
to stags on the hill then count sheep
zzzzzzzzzz……silence in Benmore’s park!

Scottish Summer (Early Morning) by Helen Gilson
Branches shiver with squirrels.
Kaleidoscopic rustling precedes
a turbulent Mexican wave.
Then scattering of green confetti.

Summer Holiday by Helen Gibson
Low branches lazily skim the terrace.
The softest caress of their dappled greenness
secretly connects with the hummingbirds
stealthily feeding their chicks

Tree house by Roshni Beeharry
I’m used to creaking floorboards
not creaking boughs.
Up in the arms of this tree,
I feel safe. I feel home.

Treehugging by Roshni Beeharry
I hugged a tree once;
it hugged me back.
Breathing in its bark- cologne,
I couldn’t let go.

Road to Redwood by Mandy J. Beattie
Concentric. Touching.  Power pulses into me
Hunter Green.  Cricked neck, craning
Vermilion.  Stalactite, stalagmite toes.  Standing on
Genealogy: Gnarled gargoyles spout stories of

Rain by Bethany Davies, Stockport
On Redwoods, Sequoias, Maples,
Pines, Monkey Puzzles, Birches, Larches,
Conifers, Firs, Willows, Oaks and Spruce.
Apologies to any tree I’ve missed out.

Not spoiled by Layla Henderson, Stockport
It’s raining, raining, raining. And it’s cold.
But I won’t let that spoil my day
amongst these trees. They need rain
and it means I get them to myself.

Untitled by Helen May Williams
Good for timber, they say.
Good for layering too:-
Wait 200 years: create an outdoor haunt.
Good for succouring too.

Untitled by Helen May Williams
In 1893, the head gardener gently teased young branches earthward.
At the fin-de-siècle, a circle of saplings surrounded the parent tree.
Just before the Great War, two young under-gardeners trimmed away all aerial layers:
Now, the sheltered room encompasses the tree: a haunt for their ghosts, succoured by its scent.

60 POEMS

Solace by Udita Banerjee
In your leafy arms,
That filter day, sometimes night,
I find solace,
Listening to wind whispers.

Lament by Udita Banerjee
Drops of dew
Like silent tears
Grace the tips of leaves
A lament echoes through

Reason by Udita Banerjee
Sometimes the only sanity,
Is in the moist verdure,
Heavy and laden,
Like thoughts.

Untitled by Christopher Jupp
still
after rain
the tree drops:
redwood scent

Untitled by Nikki Magennis
Midsummer approaches and hawthorn
blossom spills onto the cow parsley
confetti scattered over confetti
the light hardly leaves the sky

Untitled by Nikki Magennis
the wind that sweeps the trees
is entirely noiseless
we hear only the sound of leaves
crashing into each other’s paths

Untitled by Giovanni Cicogno
Rain, limnal grey flesh,
spreads its graph of loss
on the pinecone’s surface,
obscuring all proscriptions

Untitled by A_Poet Twitter
Root through branch insidious sky,
Called no limits to how high,
We had to stretch to touch its blue,
One sixty now, soon one six two.

Untitled by Karlee Kuehn
I have never seen a redwood
tower above me
like a great wooden skyscraper,
but I would like to.

Untitled by Sally, Glasgow
I need trees
They block the view of my neighbour’s car,
A rusty, wreck on wooden blocks.
They absorb the noise of the motorway
and whisper to me: Relax. Relax.

Fernery outside steps50 POEMS

A plea by Rex Burrow, Carlisle
If my wife stopped eating chocolate
cocoa farmers would go out of business,
very quickly. But that’s not likely to happen
so farmers, please keep planting the trees.

Marriage trees by Ellen Burrow, Carlisle
Two trees help my marriage. Cocoa for chocolate
when I’m worried, exhausted, stressed

and without my morning coffee
my husband would have left me years ago.

Cathedral by Josephine Shaw, Keswick
On Sunday I stood in a cathedral.
The walls were made of fifty, lofty Redwood trees,
so tall they made me gasp
and their leaves were like stained glass.

Evensong by Arthur Shaw, Keswick
There is no organ but praise is being sung
in this garden for the trees
and the people who care for them.
Now a blackbird is preaching.

 Four hymns

Hymn by Emma Ogilvy, Keswick
Trees are green lungs. We need more trees,
not more cars and pollution.

These words are my Sunday hymn of praise,
for trees and the blessings they bring.

All things by Michael Ogilvy, Keswick
Trees bright and beautiful.
Trees big and small.
Trees tall and wonderful.
Benmore has them all.

My question by Sam Hinch, Keswick
And did those gardeners in Victorian times
walk upon Benmore’s mountains green,
knowing the leaves of many trees they planted
in autumn, would glisten like gold?

To be a pilgrim by Lorna Hinch, Keswick
He who would valiant be should plant trees
for the future, feel no discouragement
and not lament. I praise their avowed intent.
I feel like a pilgrim here.

Some good  by Kyla Patterson, Glasgow
Men in shirts, ties, tweed waistcoats and caps,
planted these Redwood trees for the future,
which today is me. We should all leave
some good to show where we’ve been.

My first poem by David Ashton-Smith, Edinburgh
The lady said everyone has seeds in their head. She reached through my ear.
Look here is one, she said, holding out her palm. She helped me plant and water it.

It quickly grew into a sapling. She says if I’m patient it will become strong as an oak.
She says I have a forest, just waiting to be grown from the seeds in my head.

40 POEMS

Rooted by Lydia Ashton-Smith
Majestic branches wave happily
at the rare, June sun.
Deep in the acidic, Scottish earth
roots are holding on tightly.

I didn’t think by  Clive Harrogate, Ilkley
I was the kind of soil in which words could grow.
But the nutrients and the ph must be right
because my words are becoming trees.
Their windswept leaves are singing.

Home by Carmen Hannaby, Harrogate (Originally from Spain)
In this heat the pines smell like Spain, like home
and childhood and being with my large family
on a day when no one has to go to work
and we can let lunch last all afternoon.

This poem was written as a reply to the question ‘Why do you often see a single tree standing alone in the middle of a field?’

The Tree by Richeldis Paxton
I used to have some friends round here,
but now I’m all alone.
My friends cut down to make our ships
and war trenches, as known.

Untitled by Stephen Bone
man could only dream
of such spires –
a roosting place
for angels

Redwoods by Fiona Scott
Cinnamon, russet, amber
this living cathedral glows.
Dwarfed by the majesty
Nature cuts us down to size.

Giants by Fiona Scott
Ambition as big as the tree
they crated, tended the seeds.
Let’s not be meek
about our inheritance.

Untitled by Angela Wood
dawn sun pierces meadow trees
leaves shimmer through spectrum to bursting gold
twinkling lamps ignite on and on
dance oh dance into the new day, my love

Untitled by ‘don’t confuse the narrator’
Wildflowers and grasses
dwarf my three-year oak.
The spring breeze whispers:
“Patience! Time will tell.”

Mortal Among Giants by Jacque Creamer
Always Living. knowing. Call her, Wawona, for understanding.
Know nothing. Strive to feel… something.
Walk the path. Always dying. Searching

30 POEMS

Untitled by gava
enjoyment for all
a beautiful world
a moment in time
pretend it’s yours

But the wind kisses them all the same by Amanda Marzolf
The red leaves soar
to their graves,
while the ivy coils
from the roots up.

Untitled by El-malky
Between these tall and standing trees
came light from the sunshine queen
Still heaven sent in a shooting star
and lit all the redwoods green.

Untitled by Basha
Go to redwood avenue
If yourself want to find you
It is a beautiful garden
Benmore only no more garden
Nature is a teacher of love
Green leaves are the soul we have

Wawona by ‘Velvetinapurrs’
And so you grow avenues into sky,
vein the blue with blood of bark
and words and time and we and wing,
fall under the path of evergreen.

Untitled by Mark Wood
When I first put food
For the birds, they were
Nervous. Bird-scared
But now they know me, they pause

Sorry by Aidan Baker
Apology as apple seed.
Some day, a tree, a bough,
and fruit of knowing them again.
Best not risk that just now.

Poems written by visitors to Benmore Botanic Garden, 6 June 2013:

Responsibility by Eva, Bromley, Kent
Of the original fifty
forty nine sequoia still stand
in two lines, ramrod stiff,
to attention. In the rain,

 the new recruit shivers
nervously, pulls back
narrow shoulders, looks
ahead and aspires.

 Eau de Benmore by Anne Knights, Ipswich
Today the Redwood Avenue smells better than Chanel No.5.
It smells fresh-summer-woody and of glistening, sticky resin.
It smells of a rainbow of azalea flowers, buzzing with bees.
It has sexy, musky top-notes of leaf mulch and deer.

 Farewell  by Kirsty Willoghby, Glasgow
Benmore’s handkerchief tree waves goodbye,
Goodbye. Sadly, I have to leave
now. I must hurry. The coach is going without me
and it’s a long walk to Glasgow.

20 POEMS

Remembering by Eric Willoghby, Glasgow
The Handkerchief tree reminds me
of the three railway children, waving to the train 

and the man who will help them find their father
waving back. A man couldn’t do that now, 

it was okay then. I miss a lot about the past
and I like a happy ending.

Dilemma by Emma Kemp, Glasgow
It hurts me to hear trees being cut down.
They take so long to grow.
But I paid a fortune for my antique
oak dresser. I polish it regularly.

 Look by Mrs M, East Kilbride
Benmore’s hills look like part of Middle Earth.
The building looks like Camelot.
The sky looks like a child has crayoned it.
The Cut-Leaf Beech looks like its weeping.
The Redwoods look like soldiers on parade.

Look out, a stranger yelled to my son,
too late. Look,
here’s a picture,
taken nine days, before
the drunk driver killed him.

Tree by Kitty and her mum, Solihul
The Redwood Avenue makes me gasp.
Redwood trees make me feel tiny.
Entering the avenue is amazing.
Even adults want to touch the trunks.

Tree by Lucy and her mum, Solihul
There are fifty in Benmore’s grand avenue.
Redwood trees. Tall. Magnificent trees.
Each one is a living treasure.
Evergreen. Patient. Worth celebrating.

 Tree by Luke and his dad, Solihul
Tall, terrific trees.
Regal Redwoods.
Exciting, elephant-like.
Each one is slightly different.

Tree  by Gemma and her grandma, Coleshill
Tress in the garden and trees on the hills.
Running down the Redwood Avenue is fun.
Everyone in my family is happy today.
Even my grandpa.

Tree by Lana, Acocks Green
Turning cartwheels in the redwood Avenue is
Really, really, really good fun. It is
Exceptionally exciting and exhausting. It is
Exhilarating.

Tall trees by Jamil, Acocks Green
Tall as skyscrapers,
Reaching towards the Scottish sun.
Every day they grow taller.
Every day they turn light to energy.

 Tree by Jed, Acocks Green
Trees are brilliant for the environment.
Round near my house there aren’t many trees.
Every day I wish I could climb a tree.
Even if it was smaller than the Redwood trees.

10 POEMS   

Tree by Emma Kordingly, Solihul
Take a rest in the cool, dark shade.
Relax and look up, through branches to sky.
Every day should have a few moments like this.
Everyone needs some peace and quiet.

Tree by Howard Johnson, Edgbaston
This poem celebrates Benmore’s Redwood trees.
Roars riotously about Redwood trees.
Exclaims and enthuses about Redwood trees.
Every word praises Redwood trees.

received early June

Breton Legend by Ian Duhig
Each root of church yew
reaches a skull:
mistletoe
for kissing above.

Untitled by Jenna Hines
Old and beautiful tree
Bending your majestic head against the wind
Your lush green leaves
Sheltering the Donkeys in the field.

Writing by K Srilata
It’s a bit like herding birds.
Just when you think
it’s done, it falls like autumn
leaves from your grasp

Untitled by Vivian Jones
You are so blessed, you lovers,
who lie between the walls of our roots,
rolling on a sheet of leaves, making babies,
moved to close coupling under cover

Untitled by Christine McIntosh
Strong and reaching to the sky
but gentle to a child’s questing hand
a metaphor for love
in the cathedral of the soul.

Untitled by Miriam Dolby
In this garden we touched
the deep mossed bark of a giant redwood.
Our ephemeral lives slowed
for a moment as we looked upwards.

 Untitled by Colin Will
Somehow, you have to walk
in the centre of the aisle,
let the lines of perspective
lift you to the sky.

SURRENDER by Mandy Hampton
The last withered leaf on a survivor, an elm
departs, making space for rebirth,
tumbles in freefall, abandons the helm
lands lightly, surrenders to death.

85 thoughts on “150 Years 150 Poems!

  1. Pingback: siobhanmcnamara

  2. Benmore Post- workshop poem:

    ‘My Week Ahead’
    By Paul Mallon

    What would it look like for seven days to pass?
    What would it look like for seven nights to pass?
    What would it look like?
    I will tell you what it would look like.

    The word on the sheet would be unchanged.
    The image on the page would be unchanged.
    It would look like it does today.
    Except it would be bitter.

    The first morning is always toughest.
    It begins early with the worm.
    It’s a cold chair, a pencil and paper.
    A time of silence.

    It’s the squeeze of the pain:
    The pain to creation.
    The discipline of grammar and punctuation.
    Oh shit, I should have paid more attention at school.

  3. Benmore Post- workshop poem:

    ‘New Horizon’
    By Rosemary Owen

    Sun at my back, on my shoulders
    Glistening on my hair bedecked with wildflowers
    I move forward, light on my feet
    Picking my way over rocks, past boulders
    I smile brightly, sun-kissed

    Step out to the sandstone ledge and, like a proud redwood,
    serenely view the visionary horizon ahead.

  4. Crossing the Red Sea

    Walking your avenue is like crossing the Red Sea,
    each height-hungry tree holds back a full force tide.
    I mouth your names as if they are the names of God:
    wawona, toos-pung-ish, hea-mi-withic.

    Sierra Redwoods

    Wind plays the Sierra Redwood xylophone.
    I know your heights, the breadth of your bones
    but how far under my feet do you go?
    Digging your root-heels into the centre of the earth.

    Women of the Avenue

    Whoever comes to this garden must enter through me
    and my forty-eight sisters. Our thunder-roots meet
    under a grass-sea. Our brittle limbs rise,
    catching fog, learning survival day by day.

    Marion McCready

  5. Thanks! It’s a great project. I love seeing everybody’s poetry side by side with no sense of hierarchy – poetry by and for the people! Inspiring 🙂

  6. The Redwood Gauntlet. by Jamie McCready

    I walked the red wood gauntlet,
    I walked in prayer, you scourged my back.
    I gave you a sorry, you gave me a gift.
    Me a repentant, you; elders of Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin.

    Cowal’s Monument. by Jamie McCready

    We will not rust, we do not rot,
    Your sculptures will fall to their knees.
    When yours are gone, we’ll still stand tall
    Shouting the name of Cowal to all.

    Benmore Ent Wives by Jamie McCready

    From Birnam to Benmore you trekked in pairs,
    To dance for a thousand years.
    The Ent wives of Cowal are waiting to ceilidh
    while we Hobbits step on your toes.

  7. Tingle Tree

    Elephant bark cleft by forest fire,
    heartwood burned so earth sees sky.
    Still the buttress feeds distant branches,
    bouquets of green stretching to the sun.

  8. “Seasons o’ Scotland” – Jason Henderson

    Fae oor Scottish Simmer, the sin is lang staw,
    An’ Autumn’s sae dreich as the runkelt leaves faw.
    Than in stevels Winter, wae yon mirk an’ snaw
    Bit the hansel o’ Ware is new life fir aw.

  9. 150 Years by Drew McNaughton (for my Great-great grandfather Malcolm McNaughton who made the journey to the far west)

    Great wheel of time, fourfold seasons;
    Four elements transforming, merging and dissolving;
    Four ages of man, from birth to bodach,
    To the fourth generation: dendrochronology.

  10. HEALING TREE by Mandy J. Beattie

    My curves cuddle into Redwood’s craggy crevices
    Like a Banyan tree its warm-wood-wisdom wends my in-roads
    Earthy essence, soothing salve. Shelters. Succours.
    Slaked – Aloe Vera dew drops, after drought

  11. Is there a certain vanity
    in the trees that carry blossom?
    Do they know their transient beauty
    outshines their fruitless friends?

  12. Against majestic redwoods,
    delicate birches are fairy folk,
    with a spring froth of gold
    above slender silver wands.

  13. (Sorry! The correct version…)

    A russet trunk
    shines in the sun
    beneath cappuccino foam
    of white spring blossom

  14. Hi, These may be OK
    Rob McNaughton – June 2013

    The Winter Trees
    The winter trees stand mostly un-admired
    ‘Tis clothes of leaves and colour that attract the common eye
    Yet winter brings black lace against the leaden sky
    To thrill and chill all those who choose to be inspired.

    The Crippled Cherry Tree
    This cherry tree does not adorn my garden daily
    For some cruel hand has wrecked its once symmetric form
    And now for fifty weeks it stands crippled, unloved and forlorn
    Except in spring when gentle blossom drapes its broken branches, proud and gaily.

  15. Millions of years ago Pangea split and the continents went their own sweet ways
    Now seeds from the Americas bridge the gap
    And the majesty of nature is restored.
    (With a little help from man)

  16. 150 years

    No-one alive today remembers first-hand; but we
    have books, newspapers, photographs… We have
    the trees, too: their roots reach down
    through history, their branches finger the future.

  17. Our little man, so tall inside
    Stood beneath the giant trees
    Listening to their whispering leaves
    Laughing at the lickery dogs

  18. Olympic Legacy by Val Dunmore
    They did not fell the trees,
    some talk of carbon footprints saved their lives.
    Sucked into contrete, suffocated, shrunk,
    the silver birch, the oak, the perfumed lime.

  19. Pingback: “Seasons o’ Scotland” | Heart On Your Scrieve

  20. WILLOWS

    The Moon applauded the night sky
    The silence of the night crept into her heart and entwined her soul
    The breeze danced soundlessly across the river, he heard her weep and the weeping willows wept with her.
    Dawn crept silently into the day and the sun climbed from slumbers and dried the tears of the willows that had wept

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