Amidst bleak English fields in February I walked.
Past copses and crooked fences and blackbirds that talked
In repeating sermons of foxes and hawks.
And turning a corner in the deep mud lane
I saw a flat field that was empty and plain
Save one single dead tree that stood there alone,
Crooked spine curved by unending wind,
Wizened arms twisted and bent all ways
And long twisted fingers that curled like snakes
Round unseen currents of air.
I stopped still for a while and watched.
The blackbirds grew quiet and the wind grew still.
Grey clouds hung low and swept overhead,
Bellies pregnant with wet and depression.
The witch tree twitched and a single finger curled,
Suggesting I draw near,
And as I did some crows rose,
Cawing and fluttering to rise into the air.
They flew round me in circles.
The spirit of the tree,
Scattered and laughing at me
And challenging me to move closer and see
A more true view of me.
In that windswept field I stood small
Against open grey space and blackbirds and cawing crows,
Rushing clouds and blowing wind that sighed
Some language I failed to understand.
As I grew closer, my vision melded with that of the tree
Such that my view was mine but was also that of the tree.
And the crows that circled grew quiet and watched
Even as they followed their wing twitching way round my head
And the witch tree’s fingers writhed
Like a pianist playing the sound of the blowing wind.
Then I stood next to her and I turned to look
At that bleak landscape I’d just traversed.
I saw a world that disdained her and that took
Fright at her for her difference and now ran from me too.
It’s something to be different.
It means standing alone with crows
In fields with wider than usual views.
But the blackbird’s sweet song gives hope.


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