Peter Burrows

The Fallen Tree

The winds had returned by the time
I finally got around to finding the spot
they had all been talking about.
On another day, it could have been one of any
silenced contender littering the muddy ridge.
But when I saw it, I knew. Fallen back
from the top bank onto the sloping field –
appearing as if mid-fall – its weight
taken by the land. Bushels flailing, grasping air,
writhing in the wind, I half-circled
sizing its shapeless mass spread out
like a grounded hot-air balloon.

The nosing dog backed off
as it fanned alive once more.
Then ceased to stillness. Its fluttered feathers fell,
darkened. Had those across the water heard
its leafy collapse, its unseasonal crash?

Bending down to stroke the once sunned,
slipped crown that stood high
and anonymous among the lined crowd,

had I realised before what lives lived
in such an abundance of leaves –
almost stepping on the still-attached acorns
resting at my feet.


Peter Burrows is a librarian in the North West of England. His poems have appeared in The North, The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and most recently in Coast to Coast to Coast, Marble Poetry, The Curlew, Dodging the Rain, Bonnie’s Crew, and shortlisted in the Hedgehog Press Cupid’s Arrow competition.