Planting aspen saplings father and son though I might not live to see them grow to full height their grey bark covered in lichen flowering catkins in the spring, or listen to their leaves tremble at the slightest breeze. Son, you’re quick to share the story of this native’s decline how this is where it belongs— a wet moorland on the west. You talk of the nature of roots the unseen suckers underneath how colonies from a single seed can endure a thousand years even sending up new trunks in a forest fire’s charred aftermath. You tell me of the tree’s offer to gall midges, birds, hare, deer the importance of relationships the interconnectedness of everything. They do not thrive in shade, need light and space to grow. Planting aspen saplings, son and father.
About this poem
Produced by the SPL for National Poetry Day (2022), and to be published in forthcoming collection Far Field in 2023