The Tree Ferns Hold Onto Scotland
I came early to the garden, in the birdsong, before traffic.
Hid to watch the tree ferns sway their plumes.
They sashayed to beats of wind and waved
and waved to blue, the soaring blue of west.
They spread their feathered filbert fingers, each leaf
a page in the diary of a summer, each stump
of frond a glyph for all the other years.
Their trunks performed parabolas away
from vertical, took on the rearing necks
of brontosaurus, donkey-brown and curious
and woolly to the touch. A century ago they rocked the seas
as ballast, were chucked out on the docks.
Now they hold seisin on Scotland’s
greenest ground, their fibrous roots a mat
that turns an axe; that shrinks a map.
Copyright © Jean Atkin 2014
Jean Atkin’s first collection Not Lost Since Last Time, was published by Oversteps Books in spring 2013. She was poet in residence at Logan Botanic Gardens for the Walking With Poets project in August 2013. She has a new pamphlet out, The Henkeeper’s Almanac, in collaboration with artist Pamela Grace. www.jeanatkin.com