Wedge Wood

I’ve been lucky enough recently to lend a hand with some woodland management at a small community woodland in Coventry. My brilliant friend Anna, who wrote the management plan for the wood, asked me if I’d like to write something for the noticeboard by the entrance. I fed some ideas in (mostly by pushing acorns up my nose) and this is what came out.

Some woodlands have always existed, ancient beyond memory and stuffed with old magic
They are the origin of a thousand stories, the muse for countless poetic thoughts
But all woods were young once; even the oldest magic had a beginning

The desire to plant trees lives within us all, oft suppressed by the strain of modern life
Yet sometimes delicate bubbles of inspiration reach the surface, faint echoes of our arboreal past
Once, in the bluest of moons, these echoes take root

Such a moon adorned the sky over Counden as the end of the century drew near
The need to plant trees grew in the hearts of the people, the old horse paddock a willing host
Ideas merged into hope that stirred into action; Wedge Wood was born

She was no pedigree but a much-loved mongrel, a motley selection of species and hues
Trees were planted with ardour, oak beside cherry whilst birch neighboured pine
Barely five acres, a modest new smudge of green on the city map

Years passed and the trees grew tall, engaged in an unending tussle for sunlight
Paths were found by fearless explorers, two-legged and four, as the community embraced the wood
A host of birds and beasts took up residence, bringing with them the seeds of a new enchantment

These seeds grow fast in the right conditions, but are stifled by boredom and neglect
Today unseen wood sprites work hard to nurture them, a volunteer army rich in lore and skill
Coppicing and thinning, laying and pleaching, each act of woodcraft providing kindling for the magic to spark

Wedge Wood is still young, yet already her pull is felt by those who cherish her
The runners and dog walkers, ramblers and amblers, painters and poets
For the worth of a woodland lies not in its size or age, but in the joy and awe it inspires

This woodland belongs to all who take solace beneath her shade

First Light

I’m often out before the world awakes,
Earning my keep as the folk slumber on.
Studying old Albion before first light breaks,
Observing the changes that come with the dawn.

Night into day is a gradual progression,
Ephemeral twilight whilst the two overlap.
The sun brings relief from night’s sombre oppression,
Brightening the sky and banishing the black.

The colours of daybreak are subtle and strange,
Showing shades of rich indigo and burgundy red.
The new sky signals time for a natural shift change,
As songbirds serenade the night beasts to bed.

Dawn is the place where old magic still dwells,
The air thick with traces of enchantments and spells.