A Life in a Time

Cut through the tree,
passed the drying bark,
through the sap.
White wood,
the colour of ivory.
Carved a question in black,
burned into the frictionless surface,
like water,
moving under the steel blade.

Went like damp wicker
under the point,
until letters formed before words,
into a sentence,
into meaning,
into consequences.

Into a dying oak
of more than a hundred years old.
Some stems growing,
others never born
or died before budding.
Blooming leaves,
pointing outwards,
green, oily with natural sunshine.
Feeless art,
sculptures in full fruition.

Under mid-autumn’s,
cold, low sunshine.
Beyond the shape or form,
to look into the entire structural organism.
The silhouette in the glaze of the sun’s shine,
the long shadow cast on October grass
around the burnt crater.

One year on,
the ash blown off by the wind
leaving hard, black ground.
No regrowth,
out of the tarry, scorched, crop circle
of melted tyres and rusted oil cans.

They cut the branch that was dangerous,
after the lightning strike signified it
for separation,
before it took the teeth of a steel saw
to remove a vital artery.

It heralded the beginning of the decay
and return to the ground,
to the seed and soil.

Poem By Gavin Bourke

Gavin Bourke grew up in the suburb of Tallaght in West Dublin. Married to Annemarie, living in County Meath, he holds a B.A. Degree in Humanities from Dublin City University, an M.A. Degree in Modern Drama Studies and a Higher Diploma in Information Studies, from University College Dublin. His work broadly covers nature, time, memory, addiction, mental health, human relationships, politics, contemporary and historical social issues, injustice, the human situation, power and its abuse, as well as urban and rural life.