She nurtures and holds stories,  

close-grained as light, 

words carved in burr and scar,

in each furrowed, glittering leaf


touched by passing hands, roosting owls,

weary bones resting on her braided flank,

autumn children scattering leaves,

that spiral like golden finches.


We sprawl at her knee, sensing,

the underground web of connection,

every touch sparking in the tangled darkness,

every footfall ready to join the dance.


Poetry copyright © Frances Ainslie 2021