The Tree – for Remembrance Day.

The Tree


It stood grand with a million leaves,

In all its finery.

Every one reaching for the sun

And contributing

To the majesty of its girth.


Each leaf a thing of beauty;

Together standing tall,

With all the might

Of a wondrous



Through many centuries

The tree has stood

Draped in its coat

Of many colours,



Then the cruel wind blew

Rat-a-tat rat-a-tat rat-a-tat

And the magnificent leaves

Were blown asunder

To rot in the soil.


Opher – 10.11.2018



I wrote this in anticipation of Rembrance Day.

I had this image of a nation being a mighty tree and the leaves being its people.

The cruel wind was the machine guns that so easily blew them away.

All that potential, all that grandeur, left to rot in the ground.

So sad, so unnecessary, so tragic, so thoughtless, so meaningless, so indescribably cruel.

What is this persistent ritual of war all about? Why are we forced to repeat it so often?

So many leaves fall. So many autumns. And endless cycle of young death.

5 thoughts on “The Tree – for Remembrance Day.

  1. Fine tribute, Opher, the imagery recalling war poets like Owen but also Shelley – Ode to the West Wind where leaves symbolise people – here are the opening lines:

    O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
    Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
    Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

    Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
    Pestilence-stricken multitudes …

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