1BTfL would like to introduce our Poetry Corner

Our tree legacy is spread far and wide across the city of Birmingham and beyond. As well as planting tens of thousands of trees, working with thousands of school children and volunteers and inspiring people to love and learn more about trees we believe in doing more.                                                                                      

Our reach goes beyond just tree planting and we celebrate our love of nature and trees and by running educational, art, photography and poetry workshops engaging on a more artistic and creative level with schools, communities and individuals across Birmingham.

So here is poetry corner where we will showcase poetry themed around trees, forests, woods, tree memories, tree planting, tree appreciation and tree beauty. As well as other nature inspired and tree themed poetry.

Here are some examples of poetry already produced and inspired by a day tree planting with BTfL, a morning tree bathing with BTfL  or tree learning with BTfL. We hope you become inspired to write a poem and share it with us so we can showcase it on our website and social media channels.

Here is an example of a discussion about tree memories from a class of Year Four children from Audley School after a nature walk around Glebe Farm Park with BTfl and Birmingham poet and children’s author Mandy Ross.

‘My favourite tree is the one with the blue rope that we swing from.’

 ‘I love my Grandparents apple tree, Granddad picks the apples, Nan makes an apple pie.’

‘There is a small tree, I climb into where I can watch bikes and cars racing by.’

 ‘I loved the climbing tree in Sutton Park, I would climb it every time I visited the park, it’s not there anymore.

 ‘My Grandma has a fig tree, but the weather is too cold here so it doesn’t grow.’

 

After all sharing our tree memories the children were eager to engage and what followed was a wonderfully imaginative creative poem – and best of all it was a group effort!

Audley School Year Four Poem

In the city, by the river, here we planted emerald trees.

Willow, Oak and prickly Hawthorne, juicy berries, swishy grass.

In the Autumn, by the river leaves are getting brown and crunchy.

Falling slowly in glimmering water, flowing gently to the sea.

In the summer, by the river, sun is shining on the trees.

And on water, people bringing picnics under shady trees.

In our forest by the river, we protect the baby trees,

To grow with sun and rain and soil, homes for owls, pigeons and squirrels.

After a morning tree planting with BTfL, our corporate sponsors, Deutsche Bank, Birmingham and Stockland Green School, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Richard ‘ O Brien was inspired to write the poem below – thank you Richard.

We Need All The Trees We Can Get   

After some training, even I can carve

a perfect New York pizza slice of turf,

but underneath this thin green strip

there’s levels of resistance:        see Chris switch,

one earphone in (a podcast; MMA)

from spade to fork,

mattock to wrecking bar,

and plunge and plunge and plunge

into the shallow store

of rubble.

 

‘Sometimes there’s more brick than soil,’

somebody says:

‘you want more soil than brick.’

 

And Chris, who graciously explained

what sets apart a shovel from a spade:

‘I’m just here to dig holes;

don’t get involved in any politics.’

 

The grass on turf put back

the wrong way up competing with

the new root-ball for water,

 

while a lady from the bank

takes black bags home to plant courgettes —

 

a quieter second life, having already

yielded to the Wyrley Birch Estate

their load of liquidambar.

 

Walking back to the car, we pass a stand

of beech and ash trees that long since outgrew

the schoolchildren whose job was treading flat

the earth around them ten years earlier

Here are tree memories from many different audience members at the Return to Nature Festival. Tree memories turned in a poignant, heartwarming, beautiful collective poem. We celebrate trees, we celebrate words, we celebrate with each other!

Collective poem, Return to Nature Festival, Holders Woods, 14 Sept 2019

Trees and woods join earth and sky.
Remember a tree? Tell us where? And why?

We ran down the hill, faster and faster,
but we knew which trees would stop us falling.

The tree in our grandparents’ garden
had a bench round the trunk for summer picnics.

We planted a tree to remember my baby sister, Freya.
Now every time we go to my dad’s boxing club, we water it.

Lost trees: a mature oak with her daughters surrounding her,
at the top of Shirley Park. Now all gone, victims of ‘progress.’

Nana’s apple tree, a worm in every apple.

Maybe Grandad will make cider.

Every year we roast chestnuts from the chestnut tree,
eat them hot, share them with our neighbours.

Planting baby trees in a snowy park
to remember our friend Jo, much missed.

Watching the cricket with Dad, under the shade
of the spreading horse chestnut in Kings Heath Park.

Oak after beautiful oak on Offa’s Dyke.The grace and ruggedness of trees,
solid, majestic and beautiful. Always inspired…

In Swedish myth, an ash, Yggdrasil is ‘the tree of the world’,
holding up the whole universe. Though most trees in Sweden are conifers.

An oak tree in the playground.
We climbed it to get away from the caretaker, who chased us.

A huge lychee tree long ago in our garden in Goa. The seed came from Macao.
It never gave us lychees, but all my cousins remember climbing it.

I had a Christmas tree as a kid. It moved house with us twice.

Ann remembers a den inside a willow tree, the scent of mock orange floating over.

Fraser hugs a tree in Moseley Bog. Too big to reach all the way around.
Jasmine runs round her apple tree twenty times to help the apples grow.

A wonderful beech tree near our house,
constantly changing, magnificent, home to many birds.
My mother lies beneath a beautiful carob tree. My father visited her there often.
‘I couldn’t have found a better place,’ he said.

Trees and woods join us to each other, and earth and sky.
Remember a tree? Tell us where? And why?

On another poetry themed educational session with Batchelor Farm School the class visited Batchelor Farm Park with our Operations Manager, Debbie Needle. Inspired by their surroundings, their nature walk and study of the river, the trees, the open green space and the wildlife, so together they wrote this lovely poem – we’ve always said that collaboration can be the key that opens us up to many creative moments!

We were enthusiastic as we walked down the street

The pavement was grey and hard beneath our feet

Hopeful to see the trees by the River Cole

When we arrived, we found – a hole!

We were amazed to see it there.

 

Looking up we saw leaves, orange, yellow and brown

Saw green grass and flowers when we looked down

Some trees keep their leaves – evergreen

Deciduous trees throw off their leaves – never seen

Again this year.

 

There were birds along the path, a robin with a flash of red

Gulls and magpies with black and white heads

At the end of the path we were suddenly sad

Depressed and devastated it was really bad

 

Only tree trunks remained were trees had been

And just a few small trees could be seen

We were – discombobulated!

But as we looked, we were – relieved, the trees are being re-leaved

 

Nature is beautiful is gives us so much that we don’t always see

The sky, the woods, the flowers and all for free

As we walked back to school the streets were not the same

We looked at the plants and knew their name

 

The ground was still grey and hard beneath our feet                                         

But our route became a nature ramble not just a street

We were joyful to have seen the trees by the River Cole

Back at school, we used our words to remember the whole –

Morning – We were amazed by what we saw there.

Remember poetry makes the heart sing and the mind wonder and sometimes there is no better place to be! So join us in our celebration of poetry, nature, trees, creativity and words by sharing your poetry with us. We will always credit your work if you so wish.

Please email your poetry to justine.marklew@btfl.org.uk – thank you.