Hazel, tree of wisdom

Hazel is the tree of wisdom and has the power to end creative blockages, so what more appropriate guardian of a poetry workshop? Today a gaggle of 12 poets delved into the folklore around hazel, visited some lovely hazels in the garden, listened to poems and, not least, munched on Nutella to gain inspiration. The aim was to find some kernels from which new poetry might grow, nuts of sensation – the rustle of the trees in the breeze, the soft velvet of their leaves, that warm chocolatey smoothness on the tongue – nuggets of wisdom or random association.

hazel trunkHazel is a tree for travellers, as it is the best material for walking sticks (if a honeysuckle has corkscrewed up it, a hazel stick may make you invisible). Today’s group of poets included people from India, Ireland, Denmark and Greece, which seemed appropriate as the garden is full of trees from around the world, our native trees rubbing shoulders with their cousins from other countries. I hope some of the poets will share their writings on this site, by commenting on this post or the hazel page. It would be lovely to see what some of the poetic nuts found today grow into.

As well as its geographical diversity, the garden continues to thrill me with the vast sweep of time contained within its bounds. All the millennia of evolutionary history are here today, and the primordial forest draws me in, day after day. I have never felt so close to the deep past of this planet. This morning, in the ferns and fossils house, a stream trickled me back to an era, tens or hundreds of millions of years ago, when species of animals long extinct scuttled among tree ferns and giant horsetails. I also went to the amber exhibition at the National museum on Chamber’s St, where 30 million year old midges are trapped in the resin of ancient pine trees.

20130715-185857.jpgI don’t yet know where all this musing on the deep time of trees is taking me, but if I find out, I’ll let you know.


3 thoughts on “Hazel, tree of wisdom

  1. Here you go – don’t know if I’ll get much time to work on it any time soon so I’ll just post it up, silly as it is! Thanks for today 🙂
    Catkin *written at Hazel Poetry Workshop RGBE 15 July

    I am no good at naming trees for you.
    We walk along and look for hidden caves –
    and I could call you Catkin, would that do?

    My lack of nature feeling leaves me blue.
    You crawl inside a cape of furry leaves –
    I am no good at naming trees for you.

    I bend right down, and toe my way right through –
    You stand stock still, a girl who’s not so brave
    If I could hug you, Catkin, would that do?

    Together we locate the card, and you
    will ask me soon, I know, to say the name –
    I am so bad at naming trees for you.

    Your childish vision makes the tree seem new –
    It’s flowing skirts a magic hiding place –
    And if I called you Catkin, would that do?

    Oh well, it’s time we gathered up, and flew
    back home, with nuts all stashed in place-
    I am no good at naming trees for you –
    But I will call you Catkin – will that do?

  2. 🙂 have just read your post on your blog about the word ‘catkin’ being removed from the Junior dictionary. Glad I wrote this now 😉

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