Alder Trees – Two Poems

Yesterday, in cold rain and a sharp wind, I was looking at all the new stock in my favourite garden centre.  These poems seem apt.





For the bark, dulled argent, roundly wrapped
And pigeon-collared.

For the splitter-splatter, guttering
Rain-flirt leaves.

For the snub and clot of the first green cones,
Smelted emerald, chlorophyll.

For the scut and scat of cones in winter,
So rattle-skinned, so fossil-brittle.

For the alder wood, flame-red when torn
Branch from branch.

But mostle for the swinging locks
Of yellow catkins.

Plant it, plant it,
Streel-head in the rain.
          Seamus Heaney



Are you weary, alder tree,
in this, the age of rain?

From your branches
droop clots of lichen

like fairy lungs.  All week,
squalls, tattered mists:

alder, who unfolded
before the receding glaciers

first one leaf then another,
won’t you teach me

a way to live
on this damp ambiguous earth?

The rain showers
release from you a broken tune

but when the sun blinks, as it must,
how you’ll sparkle–

like a fountain in a wood
of untold fountains.
          Kathleen Jamie


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19 Responses to Alder Trees – Two Poems

  1. easylifestyles says:

    Another great post. Thanks for sharing this. Spending time sitting down to writing short stories and poems is something I truly enjoy in life. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    A Great Day for Spring – Poem

  2. Jingle says:

    beautiful work…
    Glad to discover you.

  3. A good read full of the beauty of a garden. Imagery is lovely .

  4. Jamie Dedes says:

    Lovely photo. Lovely poems. Thank you for posting.

  5. Kay Salady says:

    I like these poems very much as I have an abiding love for trees. You write about them as if they are a part of you . . . perhaps a friend who nourishes you as well as your teacher whom you respect. I like that! Thank you so much!

  6. Anne says:

    #2 is my favorite. So April is Poetry Month? I’ll have to get reading!

  7. shannadodd says:

    Love the imagery. True poetry.

  8. trisha says:

    beautiful and vivid. loved the poems, both of them.

    visiting you from Thursday Rally for poets held at Jingle’s blog ( , (

    Happy Rally!!

  9. Jingle says:

    Glad to discover your poetry talent,

    join poets rally.
    make poetic friends, get encouragements via awards.

    come on in, the collection is to be closed within 25 hours.


    hope to see you in ASAP…..

    your talent rocks.

    visit me now………….

    bless your day.

  10. sms says:

    Admirable writing. You’re beyond doubt an expert of such writing topics. This is absolutely the first time I visited your site and to tell the truth it has made me visit here time and again.And yes i have digg your site .

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