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Saturday 14 May 2011


We didn't recognise the lad at first,
hadn't thought to see a burnt corpse standing
there like any other blackened tree stump            smoking slightly
adding to the morning haze.

So could we simply say            and then move on
that Paul it was who'd set alight the Longfoot Wood?

Or should we say it was his father            forest ranger
lover of trees since he was five years old            taking Paul
to see the ancient yews
great trees like octipi            giant spiders spinning webs
their heavy branches
           falling to the ground
to root themselves back in the earth from which they came
and more like tentacles than something vegetable?

Or was it earlier when Paul was taken by his dad
to see the blasted oak            refigured by the lightning stroke
           resembling a witch?
Was that when Paul's "deep dendrophobia" (the coroner) took hold?
the point at which the fire became            ordained?

Or was it simply the faint match-on-match-box scratching sound
the elderberry made
on windy nights against Paul's bedroom window?

How did it come to end the way it did?            A chemical accelerator
so the fire chief said.

(He opened up some cracking views across to Stony Hill, did Paul
I'll give him that.)


lucychili said...


Raj said...

Or was it earlier when Paul was taken by his dad
to see the blasted oak refigured by the lightning stroke
resembling a witch?

amazing. the whole thought of it! :)

hyperCRYPTICal said...

This is amazingly good Dave.

Anna :o]

flaubert said...

Yes, an excellent write, Dave.


Carl said...

Wow. Dave. I am blown away.

Other Mary said...

What a very chilling and thoughtful poem. Does it derive from an actual event? From the '...burnt corpse standing/there like any other blackened tree stump smoking slightly' to the final line about the view. Oh, really liked the mention of the sound of a match striking as well. Kudos.

Titus said...

That's wonderful. Loved the complexity of the telling and the unexpected changes of tone. In fact, a stunner!

Windsmoke. said...

Spooky yet sad and gruesome :-).

Dave King said...

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

Your comment much appreciated.

Good to have your comment.

Thanks Pam. Much appreciated.

Always good to have your comment. Thanks.

No, it doesn't derive from any real event, a fantasy really, but there is some debt to actual ways in which phobias can develop

Many thanks for a most encouraging response. Appreciated.