Some Poetry - Where did that come from?
My intention had always been to intersperse the photographic plates with historical anecdotes about Kensington Gardens and some tree facts. For example, the photograph shown here is of a "Veteran" Sweet Chestnut tree, so in the book there is a short explanation of what the term "Veteran" means when related to trees.....
The term “veteran” is applied to trees that are still alive but have stopped growing and show signs of age with their gnarled trunks and craggy limbs.
I have also included historical anecdotes in order to emphasise the age of some of these beautiful trees...
.....the Sweet Chestnut trees shown in this collection age gracefully and very slowly. They are called “veterans” and many are
over 250 years old. This means that they were “born” at about the same time as the construction of The Royal Chelsea Hospital - home of the war “veterans” known as Chelsea Pensioners.
Then, one sleepless night with all these ideas buzzing around my head the following lines came to me...
The Veteran Chestnut
The Veteran Chestnut stands tall and proud
Alone in the park looking down on the crowd
With twisted bark and jagged limbs
And hundreds of years laid down in rings
Despite its age it fruits each year
Making roasted treats for winter cheer
It has seen Royal Hunts rampaging by
When, as a sapling, it shot for the sky
And now, in its dotage, it stands serene
Reminding us mortals of things that have been.
At first I was reluctant to include this but have been persuaded to do so... along with a few other poems that "occurred" later.
I hope you like them!