I love this poem by Joy Mead, who has generously given me permission to reproduce it here.  I think it’s especially comforting at this dark time of year when we’re all (in the northern hemisphere!) awaiting the return of the light.

Song of the trees

Stories older than memory, longer than history;
gift that is rooted and whispering above;
stars in the trees, holding their mystery:
trembling creation, dancing in love.

Oak is for kingship; birch for fertility;
Hazel for wisdom; rowan for mystery;
Pine for nobility; hawthorn for death;
Holly for immortality.

Sensations of prayer, music of our minds,
waves from the past, half-remembered sounds,
stardust and earthdust, promise on the winds,
wisdom for life where beauty astounds.

Oak is for kingship; birch for fertility;
Hazel for wisdom; rowan for mystery;
Pine for nobility; hawthorn for death;
Holly for immortality.

Hope in all that has lived and is living,
seen in our frailty and moment of birth;
glitter of star become rooted, life-giving;
known in the depths of our mothering earth.

Oak is for kingship; birch for fertility;
Hazel for wisdom; rowan for mystery;
Pine for nobility; hawthorn for death;
Holly for immortality.

© from ‘Glimpsed in Passing’ by Joy Mead
Wild Goose Publications (Glasgow, 2014)

Joy is a member of the Iona Community and the author of several books including ‘The One Leaf’, ‘Words and Wonderings‘ and ‘A Way of Knowing‘, all published by Wild Goose Publications.  She has been involved in development education and justice and peace work, and occasionally leads creative writing groups.