Advent Poems 7: Sycamores at Tulse Hill Station, by Christopher North

Sycamores at Tulse Hill Station


The long platform is full.
The Sycamores beyond the chain link
are moving in morning wind,
their leaves the only sound.

All the people are silent.
They thumb and finger their machines.
The Sycamores seem to know something,
there is a squall of whispering.

It is leaf to leaf, tree to tree:
they have heard a wisp and rasp of news.
It has been a dry month, the leaves are ragged,
some blotched yellow and cankered.

They seek attention from the silent people,
those febrile hands and locked fast eyes,
male, female, young, old — thumb and fingering
the little worlds behind their screens.

Someone sweeps the platform opposite.
You can hear the abrasion of every bristle,
the scrape of his foot on the paving slab
as the sycamores whisper urgently.

Listen, listen, to leaf, to leaves —
but there is only the busy thumbs and fingers.
They do not discern the urgency,
the desperate urgency of the sycamore leaves.


Christopher North , 17. 03. 2019

With thanks to Christopher North

Photo credit: Christopher North


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