Tuesday Poem – Thoughts From a Botanical Gardens Tree Hugger

I hug trees.

I like the large ones best.

First of all I hold my hand in close

feel the heat from its trunk

place my ear against its pulse

then stretch my arms around it

and murmur ‘Yggdrasil.’


But there is one tree in the gardens

surrounded by a fence.

The poles are black and shiny

the sign bright yellow.

“This red beech is declining’

it says ‘and may drop large branches

at any time.  Please stay back.’


Reminds me of us humans

when we come of age.

Pop us in the bed

pull up the side rails.

‘This person is declining and may dribble

drop its food and other things

or toss its limbs about.

Please stay back.’


So I ask you when it’s my turn

remove the barriers

hug me

and whisper the word


Yggdrasil is the tree of life. In Norse mythology, It is an eternal green Ash tree; the branches stretch out over all of the nine worlds, and extend up and above the heavens.

People and trees are so interconnected. What would we do without them. I wrote this poem before the 2011 earthquake and this week I dedicate it to a small group of people who are trying to save Christchurch’s Heritage trees from losing their protected status.

Yesterday I had an email from Tuesday Poet and novelist Helen Lowe. Helen’s book Daughter of Blood has just been published but she is taking time out to help promote the cause of heritage trees in Christchurch. Below is the essence of her email.

We need to save over 80% of Christchurch’s scheduled Heritage and Notable trees from being delisted and losing any protection in the Christchurch Plan. There has been no public consultation on this proposal, and the Plan and Hearing process is being fast-tracked under Earthquake Recovery legislation and with only very limited right of appeal.*
In effect, we only have one chance to try and retain these special trees — in a hearing process that requires both expert evidence and legal representation to be effective. As you can imagine, this takes a huge amount of time and costs a great deal of money. We’ve already achieved a great deal through a special mediation process — but to keep going we urgently need to raise more money, so we can keep speaking for Christchurch’s (Notable) trees through the Hearing process.
(*On points of law only [not fact], to the High Court.)
To help fund raise, we have set up a Give A Little page with a video that gives more context to what we’re all about:
Saving Christchurch’s Heritage and Notable Trees

This dedicated group of people ask that you take time to check it out the site and video and give as generously as you can manage.’We have lost so much of value in Christchurch over the past five years, that to face the loss of protection for so many significant trees as well feels like one more body blow in Christchurch’s post-earthquake “geography of loss.”

To visit the Tuesday Poem Archive and read more poems for today please go here to Tuesday Poem.