Remembering the Scale Trees

A Poem by Jim Carruth

Today from dull stumps let your imagination unfurl bursting new leaves from a dense crown of branches send them soaring on giants forty metres above you.

Like eleven remaining disciples they’ve a story to share – one over three hundred and twenty million years old and you’re back there standing before them to witness it.

Around you Glasgow’s swampy, sweaty, equatorial dragonflies with huge wing spans flutter by your face. On a fallen branch trace the diamond scars of leaf loss

then look to the roots – there’s an equal splitting in two and again and again – an approach lost to modern trees. These bifurcating lycopods, cousins to club mosses

didn’t last forever for the forest was flooded by mud their trunks snapped, soft cores rotted and buried but their journey continued as they turned to coal.

 A transformation that’d later heat the second city. Their gift we took too quickly without thanks for the forest’s ancient story has fuelled ours too.

Jim Carruth is a geology graduate from Glasgow University and was appointed the poet laureate of Glasgow in July 2014. see
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