This Thursday is International Day of Forests. To mark it, we share some of the tributes to trees that members of the public have been writing as part of a Forestry Commission project
Over the last month, people in Britain have been writing about the trees and forests in their lives. The Tributes to Trees project, organised as part of the Forestry Commission centenary, has welcomed poems, stories, and letters celebrating woodlands across the country.
The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, created her own tribute with a new poem, Forest. The work celebrates the endurance and life cycle of the forest, reminding humans of our place in the natural world and how trees sustain life on earth.
This Thursday, 21 March, is International Day of Forests, a global celebration of all types of forests. This year’s theme is forests and education. Below, are some of the tributes written so far.
Tributes to Trees
Unnamed, by Sarah E
My favourite tree is the willow tree. The way she bows her gentle lashes, humbly looking to the ground. Trailing in the water of the lake or being rippled by the gentle, sad breeze in the graveyard. Memories of my grandfather coming to the cemetery to sneak up on my grandmother, brother, sister and me, just passing an afternoon in the seclusion of the willow. Memories of my son, once small standing beside one, looking to the lake, trailing his teddy bear behind. Trees and memories.
Oak Man, by Lorna S
I am the voice inside an acorn.
I wear a cup shaped hat.
I tip it when I please.
I chatter in the hands of squirrels.
I buzz in wasps.
I whisper with the bolete.
I sleep. I spring.
I am sprightly. I am green.
I endure the push of each lobed leaf.
I carouse in the flush.
I take time to reach maturity.
I am the tree that holds the world.
I am the guardian and the gateway.
I come well equipped with elves.
I run in ants down many passageways.
I hollow out.
I don a skirt of armillaria.
I am mulch for the weevil and moth.
I am rot and I am canker.
I sink in the bog.
I am a sunk and empty vessel.
I am a coffin for your soul.
I am a boat to the eternal.
Unnamed, by Ruth M
You stand amongst others Majestic!
One in a million
England’s finish oak
You are fluid with the seasons
But stand your ground
You are admired from afar
A love that’s strong and dependable
Despite seasonal metamorphosis
Splendid at all times
I love you tree
The Forest Awakens, by Jan M
The dawn creeps softly through the forest,
sprinkling crystal stars of dew.
Birds awaken, ruffling feathers to shake away the night.
A swirling haze of sun-kissed mist, rose tinted purple hue
Caressing tiny flowers, drawing them into the light.
Mother Nature weaves her magic, casting spells of early spring
Sweet honeysuckle, pine and earthy peat her natural scented gifts
Bees bumble over fragrant blossoms, celandine and ling.
Oh to be in the forest, as dark night and shadow lifts.
Unnamed, by Ian S
Where would we be without a tree?
No apples, pears or plums for tea,
No ships to sail across the sea,
The world beyond a mystery.
No tables, chairs or wooden stools,
No carts for horses, ox or mules,
No handles for the workers’ tools,
No warming fires as night air cools.
No sturdy props for pits or mines,
No casks or crates for ales or wines,
No sleepers for the railway lines,
No paper for the Sunday Times.
No wood for windows or for doors,
No blocks, panels or parquet floors,
How would actors tread the boards?
No guitars, all hidden chords.
Ancient woodlands now create,
Coal for furnace, kiln and grate,
No iron, no pots, to generate,
A Stone Age life would be our fate,
No shuttles, bobbins for the weave,
No coffins over which to grieve,
Then of course I do believe,
The forest makes the air we breathe.
So take care where’er you be,
And keep the woodlands wild and free,
For if this world had ne’er a tree,
You and I would never be.
Unnamed, by Sylv H
Sherwood pines is where I come to give my brain a break. A session on my bike round the red route always presses the reset button in my mind and I drive home feeling uplifted and human again. And muddy.
Unnamed, by Mya B
Fifteen minutes away from my house, lies Tilgate Park. Despite it being busy with excitable children and barking dogs, away from the main attractions the forest offers a whole whelm of natural beauty. On an ice-cold winter afternoon, the sun breaks through the trees, splintered rays beaming down on a blanket of crisp, chestnut-coloured leaves. Grey squirrels rustle through layers upon layers of frost-bitten foliage looking for a tasty morsel, leaping and tumbling across the woodland floor before scampering up a nearby, over-hanging tree.
Up above I can see goldcrests acrobatically flitting from branch to branch, almost-hovering when foraging for tiny insects and spiders, their high-pitched, twinkling call one of the many sounds of the woodland. Frozen, a group of roe deer tentatively peer out of the undergrowth, their coal-like eyes fixed onto me, following my every move before suddenly dashing off into the distance. It’s not just in winter when I see such wonderful wildlife and nature on my favourite walk, but in spring as chiffchaffs make themselves known and as new life is introduced into the world, the woodland floor is covered in a blanket of bluebells, adding a splash of purple and enlightening my day.
Unnamed, by Jax B
We went to the woods today, me and my little girl, and it felt like spring. We walked, hand in hand and talked of trees and flowers and sunny days to come. I wished I had a favourite tree, that I could immortalise in words, greet every year, but I don’t. They’re all beautiful, how could I love one more than any other. I told my daughter this and she wondered if trees think or feel.
And if they do, do they have favourite humans?
Unnamed, by Zach H
On the slopes of the North York Moors lies one of my favourite spots, Silton Forest. It’s quite close to home so I get to visit it a lot. I’ve trod its paths in early morning frosts and mists marvelling at dew jewelled glistening spiders webs and blades of grass crystallised by frost. On sunny days I’ve sat in its shade and watched dragonflies and damselflies dart around while Speckled Woods and Common Blue butterflies glide and flitter between the flowers. I’ve watched the sun set over the trees and sat quietly watching deer vanish silently into its depths.
I love the ebbs and flows of the seasons hearing the frogs and toads calling and croaking in spring, the buzzing of insects busy pollinating the summer flowers, watching the swirling leaves as they fall from the trees in autumn and crunching through them on frosty winter mornings.
It’s a special place where I’ve gone a lot as I’ve grown up, so many happy memories and wildlife experiences. This is one of the places that has forged my love of and connection to nature. Thank you Forestry Commission for looking after this special place.
To write your own, click here
Featured image: Forestry Commission