I moved to the country because I wanted peace,
I wanted quiet; I had specific needs.
The trouble with the country is there’s not enough trees.
Not enough leaves to rustle in the breeze,
And mask the sounds of the farm;
The roar of machinery, the reversing alarms.
The wind blows cold out here;
Gathers speed over expansive fields chemically freed of weeds,
Jumps the butchered hedgerows like a thorough-bred steed,
Nothing to slow it because there’s not enough trees;
Stay outside too long and I’ll freeze,
So I hide away inside;
Watch through the window as it lacerates my nascent garden.
Is this global warming or just that there’s not enough trees?
I used to hear owls when I lived in the town,
Those lovely, ethereal sounds
Came down from the crowns of ashes and oaks,
Invoked wonder and joy, but out here, there’s nothing;
Have they all been destroyed?
Or have they deserted the land of too few trees?
All the old barns converted to expensive real estate
Leave them nowhere to live,
Because for the custodians of the countryside
It’s all take and no give;
The land wouldn’t be as productive
If there were more trees.
The forests have fallen,
The wildwoods are gone,
Slash and burn, baby; slash and burn;
No room for woodland when it doesn’t earn
Enough to keep the hedge fund managers sweet,
You’ll never turn a profit if your capital’s asleep,
Buried deep in ancient woodland,
Or marinating in peat.
There’s a killing to be made in shooting grouse,
So it’s slash and burn; then buy more land and repeat.
No surprise; there’s not enough trees.
Not enough trees to keep the air clean,
Red diesel doesn’t burn green,
We’re choking on carcinogens and the environment’s screwed,
Yet internal combustion still reigns supreme,
The time to choose has all but been and gone.
Between country and town there’s little distinction;
No escape from the coming extinction.
If only we’d realised there’s not enough trees.
Poem and image © Graham Wright 2021