Nine Worlds

Our very own Yggdrasil fell the other day,
An Ash tree,
holding Nine Worlds in its branches and roots.
Bourne from the Well of Urd, right here by the Tolka,
snowbound and closed, storm Emma blew
from the East-North-East for three days:
Wednesday ‘til Saturday.

Glasnevin watched over this ‘Waterer’s Variety’ Ash
in the far grounds, number 1888.011023.
This 30 metre tree – some 120 years old, graceful,
holding Nine Worlds in its branches and roots.

A yellow flame of Chrysothrix candelaris
on its latticed trunk, made it visible from afar.
Honey fungus, at a root buttress,
was noted, 14 September, five years ago,
warning that its time was near.
Armillaria gallica, a honey fungus variety
has rotted out its fifth of the root plate.

Nine Worlds of our very own Yggdrasil were alive here, last week.
Leafy lichens of 20 kinds,
crusty ones and fungi of another 20 sorts.
Nine fungal infections of lichens,
five mat-forming mosses, three cushioned ones,
two liverworts and a 16-spot ladybird, in an Ash tree.

Sixty species crowned this Glasnevin village Ash:
all grown from wild gardener’s spores,
30 years afresh in Mary Harney’s clean air.
Our very own Yggdrasil
holding Nine Worlds in its branches and roots,
full of cryptogamic spore bark life,
a centre of spiritual cosmos,
right here by the Tolka, the Ash that fell the other day.

Howard FOX, Botanist, 7-8 iii 2018

Vespers on Culture Night

We set off down the hill, looking for a glade and the Elm wood. Fingers feel their raspy leaves and their corky stems; a sensation some decades ago that was part of a child’s universe. On a day with an evening shower, the yews will keep our shoulders dry. We walk up the hill, as the river flows, and emerge from the trees protection, looking up at the Cedar of Lebanon as it recedes into the sky, a 20 metre parapluie, with a rainbow to the east. While we dash to shelter of the next Pin Oak, walking in soft shoes on acorn cupules, and round to the Holm Oak with the Payne’s grey Diploicia on the trunk base, where we tarry, for the next phase of the walk is exposed. Wet spectacles are wiped clear when we complete the round, and fog up as Burco tea in the galley from a hot tap flows. Such tea soothes our spirits, before the contemplation ahead.