Tree-KeepersThe other day, on Hampstead Heath While mist lay shrouded like a wreath I chanced upon some tree-keepers With leaves above and mulch beneath Now tree-keepers, I must explain, Are much the same as bee-keepers – Though less about the drowsy smoke And more about the high-slung rope; Less about the honey wax And more about the pruning axe; Less about the buzzing bees And more about the tufted trees – So … not so much, it must be said, Like bee-keepers at all. But tree-keepers, I will admit, Are almost like chimney-sweepers – Just less about the charcoal dust And more about the leafy rust; Less about the fiery chutes And more about the twisted roots; Less about the blackened bricks And more about the wayward sticks – So … not so much, in actual fact, Like chimney-sweepers at all. Still, tree-keepers, I’m sure it’s true, Are pretty much like fire-eaters – But less about the searing spark And more about the ailing bark; Less about the showmanship And more about the budding slip; Less about the more absurd And more about the nesting bird – So … not so much, if truth be told, Like fire-eaters at all. In actual fact, the tree-keepers Are nothing like the night-sleepers Or keyhole-peepers or canyon-leapers; Not a bit like money cheaters Or egg-white-beaters or candy-treaters; Not even like crawly-creepers, Let alone grim-hooded-reapers – No … not so much, despite their rhyme, Like any ‘–eepers’ after all. Rather, those strangers on that day On Hampstead Heath, I’d have to say, Were nothing more and nothing less Than keepers of wise Nature’s way.
Wayne Visser © 2011
Wishing Leaves (book)