Reading Seamus Heaney’s Glanmore Sonnets, sitting beneath a tamarisk tree on the north Cornish coast.
…hankering after stone
That connived with the chisel, as if the grain
Remembered what the mallet tapped to know.
That ties in well with the landscape all about me, which has memories of many millennia stored within its rocks, ancient tracks, stone-hedged fields and sand dunes.
I love its blooms like saucers brimmed with meal,
Its berries a swart caviar of shot,
A buoyant spawn, a light bruised out of purple
Might that change the way you look upon the elderflower forever, or might it just be, depending on your mood, overwritten and overblown?
The tamarisk was planted long ago, when houses were cottages, and the land was ploughed, and the season was the farmer’s all year round, and not just the holiday-maker’s summer months. The wind scurries the fronds, a Cornish blue beyond and above, but they’re so fine that their susurrations lose out to the ash tree, which with the freshness of youth is a sounding-board for the breeze.
The tamarisk branches move uneasily, they creak, and the ash sways. The ash is all deep shade, the tamarisk a light touch of sun. A gull squawks, and when the wind falls low, there’s the distant sound of a combine harvester, for fields still do run away inland, when you climb beyond the pitched roofs and white facades of the holiday homes.