The idea of trees as revenants (of a sort) in Patrick Kavanagh's "Poplar Memory" (which appeared in my previous post) brings to mind a poem by Siegfried Sassoon.
Outlived by Trees
A beech, a cedar, and a lime
Grow on my lawn, embodying time.
A lime, a cedar, and a beech
The transience of this lifetime teach.
Beech, cedar, lime, when I'm dead Me,
You'll stand, lawn-shadowing, tree by tree;
And in your greenery, while you last,
I shall survive who shared your past.
Siegfried Sassoon, Rhymed Ruminations (1940).
I presume that the beech, cedar, and lime were located on the grounds of Heytesbury House in Wiltshire, where Sassoon lived from 1934 until his death in 1967. Sassoon's trees reappear in a poem that he wrote a decade later. This time, however, the prospect of their survival -- and of the survival of part of him through them -- seems less certain.
A meditative man
Walks in this wood, and calls each tree his own:
Yet the green track he treads is older than
Recorded English history:
His feet, while moving on towards times unknown,
Travel from traceless mystery.
Wondering what manner of men
Will walk there in the problem'd future when
Those trees he planted are long fallen or felled,
He twirls a white wild violet in his fingers
As others may when he's no more beheld,
Nor memory of him lingers.
Siegfried Sassoon, Emblems of Experience (1951).
We will always have a "problem'd future" ahead of us, won't we? All the more reason to concentrate on the trees rather than the forest.