Willow – weaving with words

Don’t tell anyone, but today I cut several branches off trees in the Botanics. Fifteen, to be precise. It was in the interests of poetry, you understand…

Willow is the tree of enchantment, and fortunately my invisibility spell seemed to work nicely. I carried the stems I had cut, brazenly, into the public space of the Gateway, and proceeded to turn them into poems. Who says poems have to be linear and on the page? This one even rhymes and scans…


Willow is a fascinating tree, full of contradictions: a healing force (and the source of aspirin) yet also strongly associated with goddesses of death; a tree of visions and inspiration, yet also linked to dirt (its name, Salix, is linked to the Gaelic salach, dirty, and the source of the word salacious). In many cultures the sun god was found in a willow basket as a baby, and though we began our celebration in cloud, by the time we had finished weaving willow words, the sun was out again.

Wearing a sprig of willow indicates you are grieving, so perhaps it was appropriate that I spent time this morning in the John Muir grove of giant redwoods, each of which has a commemorative plaque. The presences of the people loved, lost and remembered by these trees: Grandad Brian, Jimmy, Robbie, Philip, John and Christine. But just to prove the garden is full of celebration, a couple planning their wedding came, and were shown where the red carpet will go, between the trees. One of the plaques says, ‘What will survive of us is love’. How true!


One thought on “Willow – weaving with words

  1. Pingback: Black Willow | Find Me A Cure

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