HOLM OAK


In the fierce heat of a Spanish summer walking among trees is a cool pleasure tinged with awareness of the constant risk of forest fire. I have seen our hillsides burn and the explosive flare of a resin filled pine tree, followed by the whisking of fire by wind to set light to more trees is a terrifying vision of nature's destructive potential. After the fires the land is blackened and seems dead but some trees and shrubs survive as small flushes of green and under the ash nature is renewing itself. Spring sees fresh shoots, the land slowly greens and in a few short years verdant growth replaces the burnt earth. 
This poem is inspired by a recent walk on a misty afternoon, the humid heat broken by shafts of burning sun as the clouds lifted.  Following the path and spotting the trails of the wild boar who are at home on the hills of El Carrascal, I felt their eyes watching from their daytime lairs.  




HOLM OAK


Winding through pine trunks, path scuffed 

by wandering sounder of mountain boar,

black striped piglets tripping in file,

dapper cloven boots cushioned by 

deepening weave of needled kindling,

red earth snuffled with wire bristled snouts,

boar rooting for acorns buried in mould

beneath holly spiked green of Holm Oak.


Fighting for light in pine’s arrow shade,

Oak grows shrub wide, biding time for

wild fire to torch resin into scorching flare,

freeing space for flame singed bush 

to stake its ground on blackened hillside,

whilst Oak’s polished green seed burrows safe, 

acorn cupped in ash rich soil in wait for 

the warmth of spring rains to stir renewal. 





© 2018 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved. 





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