So long ago, but I still feel it.
The tears on Grannie Shipley’s face
as the great horse chestnut tree
thirty yards from our house,
the one where I collected conkers,
screamed at the bite of the saw.
“Get away with you!”
I slipped out of her sight,
avoiding her distress,
but there was no way to escape the sound
of raw pain and disfigurement
to the body of one who had lived so long.
The final rumble of a mighty death
signaled the end of a great spirit.
I stood at our gate that afternoon
and watched as the dismembered body
was carried away, without flags or oratory,
on the back of a rusty lorry.
Only a few twigs were left behind,
full leaved, new grown,
Still pulsing with their final breaths.
they held the scatterings of a life.
Wreaths strewn in memory,
clinging to what might have been.
I picked one up and held it tight,
knowing that I must not show it to my gran.