Before the flats were the fields;
before the flats were the trees.
For these flats to rise, the trees had to die.
Only two remain, delighting my eye.
Their branches wave, above roofs, in the sky.
A reminder of how all was levelled down,
as “country” submitted to onrushing “town”.
So humdrum, our lives in these flats.
Wash-cycles rumble, hoovers moan,
nuisance calls infect the ‘phone;
sheer repetition of daily chores.
In the trees, above, squirrels leap and soar.
From tree to tree they fly, performing
arabesques against the bright blue sky.
The squirrel-acrobats defy gravity.
They sprint, they spring, they somersault;
arching backwards, they do a pole-vault.
They twist, they tumble, they belly-flop;
seem to succumb to a deadly drop,
but no – upwards again they pop.
So constricted, our lives, so little we see;
above the roofs, high in the trees,
squirrels seem to show what it is to be free.
This poem is one of my continuing project of poems based upon the happenings in the flats where I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. Looking out from my living room window, the tops of the two trees mentioned in the poem are immediately visible, and, whenever the squirrels are “performing”, I find their activities absolutely riveting.