Oak trees in October, I hear your fine fiddle tunes,
deeper down, your autumn fugue,
you play as your branches sway.
You lament your green leaves, soon to wilt, fade away,
turn acorn brown, red, yellow,
pale silver, bronze, scarlet, gold.
Like you, at nearly seventy,
I must be considered old.
Feel young as I’ll ever be,
I do not crave for youth.
See clearer now, closer to the bone,
detect the bead of truth.
Your leaves will fall, rest around your roots,
fade on hard clay and grass.
The way it is, the seasons pass.
Once this land was mostly forest.
If you had a mind you would remember,
oak trees in October, how men came with axe and saw
to cut down your kind, wheeled them away as logs on timber carts,
in this land of bewildered minds and broken hearts,
to build a fleet to defeat the armada
and structures as shelters to live and work in,
and when life was bad they made it harder.
Some of you still stand tall in the fields,
in the vales between hills,
oak trees in October, the wind still blows where it wills.
Unlike you, I have a mind to remember.
Soon you will stand bare, for a sparrow no shelter.
It will be dark November.
The robin we will take note of more in December.
It would have been better if only birds and beasts lived here.
Humans have proven to be bad guardians, poor shepherds.
Oak trees in October, for what happened,
on behalf of my kind, I am sorry.
We built a boat we could not steer.
I am not an eagle, perched on this chair, but I feel like one.
The way down the mountain is far and sheer.
I blink and the moment’s gone.
Philip Dodd was born in 1952, lives in Liverpool, England, has a degree in English literature from Newcastle University, and has been writing songs, stories and poems since he was twelve. He is the author of three books, Angel War, Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle, and Still the Dawn: Poems and Ballads.