Paul Fleckney


I sit in the shade

            of a seventy-foot crown,

pondering branches, leaves and trunks,

wishing I knew

the names: an elm

from an ash, a beech from a birch, the gums,

the palms, the cedars

and figs—a poet’s orchard

ripe for the thief.


Lacking the words

                                    for plants and birds,

instead I pluck from the family tree—

a book of pages

written in blood where anxious

kings dictate by might. My father,

afraid the names

of things might misplace

my awe of him


in favour of

                                    more worldly gods,

drilled me in battles, American state capitals,

and chemical symbols;

 in other words I learned to please,

but Boise and boron will not help me

thieve, nor teach me

 to write the birds

and the trees.


Trees by Paul Fleckney was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition February 2019 judged by Mandy Pannett.

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