The tree outside the door of the church…

Some of the greatest joys of my post-career career have involved the sharing of poetry with small groups of people. Poets are solitary beasts mostly, skulking around in the shadows, so when we can share our secrets with others and find common meanings, this is something special indeed.

Yesterday was a case in point. A small group of people gathered in a church hall, sharing stories of grief and loss, through the mediums of laughter, tears and poetry. What a wonderful thing to be part of.

One of the simple exercises we used was to walk in the woods nearby and find a tree, then imagine that tree speaking to us with kindness. What people wrote reduced us all to tears.

Outside the doors of the old Kirk stands a gnarled old sycamore tree. It looks older than the stone building it shelters, and despite the timeless impression, I vaguely remembered that sycamores are not native to this country, perhaps being introduced by the Romans, or some time in the middle ages- no-one knows for sure. They must have offered some kind of commodity that was appreciated, even though they have been villified as invasive species ever since.

I stood beneath this venerable benign giant and wrote this;


Old friend


Like you, I was not born here

But here, we put down our roots

Just outside the church door

Looking inwards

Looking upwards


Let’s compare scars

Look at mine

I will cover yours


Listen as I whisper

You are loved

You are loved

You are loved

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