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This poem is taken from PN Review 177, Volume 34 Number 1, September - October 2007.

Four Poems Alison Brackenbury


The beech tree stands upon its toes.
A dark V opens like a house.
What creature curls in that dry space?
Not squirrel, owl. It is too low.
From ground's mean stones these arched roots grew
A barn too draughty for a mouse.

Sight shrinks, then flickers. Here they come
As quick as beetles, enter in,
A whole small army with their drums,
Their stools and quarrels, on the run.
Wood turns to paper, ink and gum,
Love letters hidden in a tree.

The raised roots will bring down this tree,
One amongst the storm's great losses.
The squirrel runs. The armies see

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