A Wood Coming into Leaf by Alice Oswald

From the first to the second

Warily, from the tip to the palm

Third leaf (the blackthorn done)

From the fourth to the fifth and
(Larix, Castanea, Fraxinus, Tilia)

Thaw taps, groping in stumps,
frost like an adder easing away

The sixth to the seventh (plum conceive
a knobble in a stone within a blossom)

Ushers the next by the thumbs to the next...

A thirty-first, a thirty-second

A greenwood through a blackwood
passes (like the moon's halves
meet and go behind themselves)

And you and I, quarter-alight, our boots in shadow

Birch, oak, rowan, ash
chinese-whispering the change.

(to Contents)


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