Phil Dunkerley





It had always been there,
standing against the sky as he left the village,
between the field edge and the ditch,
a constant presence in every coming and going.
Now, curiosity draws him towards it.

He shivers as the freshness of morning
chills his small body. The tree towers over him,
huge, branching, buds caught in the act of opening.
The horizon is bright with yellow, green and pale blue;
in wraiths of mist an old man passes along the road.

Circling to the north he faces the tree again,
understanding, for the first time, its maturity.
Vivid lichen tinges the strong ridged bark,
the green canopy spreads wide, and as he looks up
wood pigeons flap out, off to the ripening wheat.

From the path, brown with dry grass and blown leaves,
he can see empty nests high in the branches.
The wan disk of the sun in a layer of thin cloud
fades as it settles behind the woods. He hears
a tractor working the stubble land; someone is busy.

He finds it hard coping with the uneven ground,
and sadly notes the last few lingering leaves.
He watches as the approaching geese head south.
Vapours cling to the frosty earth; he turns away
and, far off, sees a small boy leaving the village.





Phil Dunkerley is the Poetry Society representative for the Stamford Stanza, Lincolnshire, and is active in open-mic and other local poetry groups. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and he is a reviewer and translator.

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