Alison Dunhill

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Solid Oak


Solid Oak

Great central stump, oak of Holme,
you are upside-down.
Your crown of root is Icarus-winged.
Holme beach: spreading sea lavender, sea thistle, miniature lagoons.
Grass-held dunes in white silk.

Great central stump.
Rhythms of complex growth
are deep rivulet swirls etched in your girth’s skin.
Four hundred years grown then four thousand more since
honeysuckle twine dragged you, horizon-bound, with common blues.

Great central stump,
monument of human surrender to death and sky,
circled by fifty four primordial protector stumps;
rough outside, inside conker shiny.
In the middle you, monolith-still, crown the rituals.

Great central stump, Bronze age henge,
your magnificence is obedient today behind museum safety glass.
A steel harness clamps you, Prometheus-like, into a second stasis,
perhaps fourteen miles from the ancient centre
of the four thousand year-hidden, sea-kept, circle.

First published in the Fenland Poetry Journal, Autumn 2020

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