Helen Ashley

Ghost Trees

still as an etching
in winter mist.
What light there was
dies down below the line of hills,
leaves them to stand
stark, ominous,
filtering moonlight
through the gathering dark.

They have shed the green
flesh of summer,
let it fall, rusted at their feet.
Now nothing to stop the cold
rattling their bones.

But listen: these are not
the dry skeletons of departed souls.
Something within each trunk
whispers still.
We are simply at rest,
holding faithful to the earth
which nourishes us.

Tributaries of sap
slow for a time, but still run.
Look: where each leaf fell away,
even now the beginning of new buds.
We trust in the seasons’ turning;
we live for the rebirth of light.

Helen Ashley lives in Totnes, Devon, where she facilitates a poetry appreciation group. Her Acumen pamphlet, Ways of Saying, was published in 2010. She has also had poems published in several anthologies, and in magazines, and shortlisted in several competitions. In 2018, she was Commended in the Grey Hen Poetry Competition, and Highly Commended in the Torbay Festival Poetry Competition.