by AC Clarke, UK

This beech sapling, sprung of its own accord
from the parent tree, is old enough to join
its mother in the leaf-change which is a sign
of slide from summer balm to winter cold – 
or was, for seasons now are out of joint:
spring flowers in January, in November
raspberries clinging on. This tree was meant
for the old way. Its branches still remember

that they must lose their light-transforming green
just as the geese which clatter in the meadow
remembered they must flee a north which still –
for how much longer? – locks their grass in snow.
We wish earth well but treat it badly. Will
this sapling wither to a might-have-been?

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