#60: The Stick
I’ve always been one for picking up sticks,
for carrying seaweed away from the sea.
I claim fallen branches for use in new tricks,
holding them hostage, torn from their tree.
I grip creased bark in my palm’s deep creases,
pressing the point firmly into the earth.
I handle its skin that is peeling in pieces,
worrying the wind that wished for its birth.
I am a wizard with roots in the ground —
I’ve stolen the knowledge from off of the tree.
I metamorphose without making a sound —
my arms stretch outwards — the branch is me.
Bellowing my title — the King of the Wood —
My voice is now silent — lost in the mud.
A few days ago, I explored Durham’s Botanic Gardens, a welcome break into living nature, away from the dead trees of library books. Like an excited puppy, I insisted on claiming a large stick to carry around, and I began to wonder why we do that; why we feel the need to take pieces of nature and hold and possess them. And so, as any literature student would do, who is deep in her dissertation and going slightly delirious, I wrote a sonnet about the experience, about the strange empowerment of waving around a big stick. I hope perhaps it is not as weird as I just made it sound. Or that perhaps if it is, it still makes you smile.
Photograph courtesy of the one who humoured me as I paraded around with an overly large stick.