May 202013
 

As part of the Moving Forward from Ash Dieback project we decided to search for a poem that would help people consider the value ash has in our environment and our culture. Poetry has the potential to enrich our lives and change the way we look at the world. It can connect with us on a different level from the usual ‘interpretive text’ you may find in an exhibition. So, with the help of the Scottish Poetry Library, we sent out requests to poets across Scotland to ask them to consider ash trees, their disappearance and how we might celebrate ash woodlands. We were delighted with the response: the very high quality and the variety of work. Below is the final work chosen, written by Ken Cockburn.

The Ash Grove

a springtime ash, whose leaves emerge from black
an unlocked ash, so profligate with keys
a mourning ash, its branches heaped on pyres
a lettered ash, in the alphabet of trees
a hedgerow ash, which twists among the briars
a spreading ash, in summer’s heat a bield
a sporting ash, to take the shinty field

a warlike ash, for arrows and for spears
a lightning ash, and flame that flash provides
a hanging ash, a shade of dule and tears
a timeless ash, the horse which Odin rides
a steam-bent ash, which hoops the barrel staves
a buoyant ash, a charm against the waves
a blighted ash, whose crown is dying back

Ken Cockburn
April 2013

Thanks to Ken Cockburn, all the poets who submitted work and to the Scottish Poetry Library.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.