Connect in Combs

By Dean Parkin

As part of our Connect events, Dean spoke at length with Desiree, and together they created this poem about Oaks Meadow.


Every summer was sunny
when Dad was working
out here, Des says.
We’d have picnic teas
sitting on straw bales.
Now Des wants to share
this field – Oaks Meadow
she calls it – four acres
plus a plan and a team
with a dream to come true.

Here’s where the pond
will be dug, where trees
will stand. Here’s the plot
for a vegetable patch,
hedges to forage, rosehips
and blackberries to pick.
All the things we used to do.
Harvest fruit from an orchard,
Halloween pumpkins to carve,
grown from scratch.

We’ll have kids building dens,
an eco toilet, an insect hotel
and a medicine wheel
with herbs for every month
of the year and, one day maybe,
a herbal labyrinth. Des says
it’s all about discovering
what’s on your doorstep,
planting acorns
and watching them grow.

There are four oak trees,
one in each corner
of the meadow, and in the middle,
a fifth, a special tree
where the hares run by
over hoofprints and footprints.
My husband’s ashes
are scattered there. Our family dog
is buried there. My children,
now grown, meditate there.

In summer the wildflowers
pop up here everywhere,
and in autumn the trees
and hedges turn every colour.
In winter the wind rustles
the branches and the meadow,
bare and cold, looks good in snow.
It’s in the spring
covered in dandelions
the meadow turns gold.

It’s where we’ll all meet
and this is the plan – the square
is a new village hall, the circle
a play area, and at the top
of the field, the oval pond.
Quiet but busy, won’t be noisy.
Somewhere to wander,
take the dog for a walk, a place
where people find themselves
and an oak tree for all seasons.

Desiree Shelley with Dean Parkin

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