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photo of gnarled dead tree


Ian Barth


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Detail from a painting by Marianne North, Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden.

Insights on Creation

“I have got, over the years, a sense of the immense sweep of creation, of the evolutionary process in everything, of how incomprehensible God must necessarily be to be the God of heaven and earth.”

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The bent oak by the tool shed is dying.
Now in late April, you can clearly see
the deadened wood at each extremity
encircled by the bright first leaves of spring.

One day soon my saw will bite
into the base of that tough old trunk;
careful notch cut out the front,
back cut, wedge, and then timber.
Give or take 100 years
of life and growth come crashing right

between two cherry ornamentals;
chainsaw precision.
The air a rich infusion:
burning oil and petrol smoke,
tangy sour of fresh cut oak,
crushed wild garlic and bluebells.

In this moment though, the late sun halos
the soft bright green against the bark’s brown grey,
The slightest of breezes whispering by,
it seems the chorus of rooks crescendos.

gnarled dead tree
Photo by Theophilos Papadopoulos