Rebecca Gethin


I wish we’d walked in the forests of spruce
high in the Alps where wood to make violins
grows tall and straight, a string section
of trees rooted in steepness.

If only we had – me loving the trees,
the shush and roar of wind,
you hearing the sway of notes under your fingers,
putting your ear to the trunks like the forester

who listens for each one’s ring from the heartwood;
the most resonant trees being felled in autumn
when the moon is furthest away
and sap sinks into ground.

We’d guess their ages and wonder
what histories the trees had lived through,
the fall of Napoleon, the rise of Fascism
and if effects of ice-bound winters,

droughts and storms were drawn
in their annular rings. We’d work out
the shapes of the rings inside us,
avoid calculating our survival rates.


Rebecca Gethin has written 5 poetry publications and has been a Hawthornden Fellow. Messages was a winner in the Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition.  Vanishings is forthcoming from Palewell Press and she is to run a short course for Poetry School.

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