Self, Rewilded

A western jackdaw perched on a wood

Searching, I pause under a tree,
immediately an irate crow starts scolding me:
what business have you here?
In a nearby oak, magpies are chortling,
amused by this spectacle of me
trying to feel grounded, touching this tree.
Touching, my hand connects
to old, rough bark and I contemplate
all the time this tree has stood –
stoic, strong, tall
against a lifetime of changes,
so many changes…
A tear rolls down my cheek.

The teardrop lands, dissolves
into the soil, up into the roots –
a part of the tree now.
A tiny part.
Then more droplets start falling,
not tears, but everything,
every part of me melting away,
From these deep roots
I’m drawn up into the tree,
a rushing symphony of water gushing
through the trunk and out to tendrils
connecting with the sky, with life.

Firm, unyielding,
I am the tree now
and even the crow,
satisfied by my transformation,
stops cawing,
nestles further into my branches
knowing I will protect her
for as long as I stand.


Poem by Catherine Jefferson

Catherine Jefferson is a researcher, writer and animal welfare campaigner based in West Sussex, UK. Her recent work is featured in Literary Veganism: An Online Journal and forthcoming in The Field Guide Poetry Magazine.