Farewell from the unspoken garden

Autumn arrived late this year
just in time for winter
and for the leaving.
There are thirty-three trees
in the unspoken garden.
All but seven are regimented
Into two files of conifers.
The rogues comprise a cherry
two hazels
two apples
a holly
and a fir that outlived Christmas.
Next door 
a sycamore 
so sick with seeds
that every year we have to harvest
a generation of sprouting helicoptered colonisers  
or we would be a grove.

Next to that 
a towering cypress 
with its belligerent crunchy confetti
and bejewelled at the moment
with a goldfinch necklace.

And down by the quad
even more sycamore
an old elder, 
she of wine flowers and berries
and poisonous smoke
if burnt, they say
perhaps that’s why it keeps the devil away?
Next door – to the east
not at all sure,
but it could just be 
an oriental ornamental tree,
of Japanese origin;
the leaves in autumn
turn yellow and bronze
bow respectfully
and burnish politely
in the rising sun.
That neighbour too,
has a conifer duo
and a partridge-free
pear tree.
Beyond all that 
we can see
from the imaginary crenellations 
countless others.

Willow turrets
free of rooks
but home to crows
and Mabel and Henry
and Henry and Mabel 

copper beech,
an avenue of mountain ash
and an anonymous array 
too far away from our leaf-mouldy minds
to be confidently identified.
depending on the direction
of the prevailing
or usurping
unveiling airstream
they all send love-letter leaves,
with subtext seeds,
scented spores
the promise of pollen;
the undeletable messages
secret paramours
so persuasive that they need no 
undercover assignation 
to impregnate,
and perpetuate
the morning-after mulch 
of which
we are just
the frailest part;
because we
are the only correspondents
that require
unnatural means
to carry our communications.
When the leaves return to ground, the garden goes, not to sleep but into torpor. 
It pretends to be doing nothing, while everything continues.
We leave the garden almost alone, but it never abandons us.
Its solace can be seen and heard, whenever we ask, and is given even when we do not.
It never refuses, though in the days of longer nights, it has less to say.
We’re leaving now, remaining here but going away.
Leaving the unspoken garden, to talk among itself.
For now.
Should it say anything significant, we’ll let you know.

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