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Claire Booker - Of Trees and Words


Of Trees and Words
Claire Booker

Changes to the national curriculum will omit the study of any poetry written after 1980.
A scheme to sell off heritage woodland was considered by this government.

Unleash your hypocritic minds, ye Tory hearts
of oak! Uproot our ancient woods with bodgers’ hands;
each tree, a many-antlered monarch in your sights,
run to ground and blasted, to salvage fiscal plans.

Oh yes, you say re-plant; great oaks from acorns grow.
Yet in five hundred years, when England rings once more
to children’s gasps will they peer up and wonder how,
when this basilica of bark, stain-glassed in green, bore

first leaf, their ancestors were fooled by frauds? For I spy
bad logic: you’ll lop live poetry, talley-ho it
from school curricula, yet lovingly tie
yellow ribbons round the weathered trunks of poets

labelled ‘heritage’. Thus, petty minds make kindling
of the root and lifeblood of our future flourishings.

Claire Booker’s poetry has appeared most recently in Magma, New Welsh Review, Other Poetry and The Rialto. She is currently working on her first collection. Claire is also an award-winning playwright whose stage plays have been produced in Australia, Europe, America and the UK. She blogs at

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