J. R. Carpenter: the trees

for Christine Stewart


to do some thinking.
about trees. and the light they inhabit.

the corners they round. the hills they climb.
the ridges they crest. the winds they break.

and the way. some are for display.
and some are for hiding behind.


also. about trees.
and their doubling.

shadow trees. wall trees.
water trees. trees of pure colour.

and same again. for the fungal web.
rot. and all the roots under.

a thinking walk.

along a light-flecked wall.
to where the colour clumps.

in a copse.
of orange.


under a larch. turning golden.
borders on. a benediction.

with what tree language.

to think. the river through.
roots. finding grykes. in limestone.

what spaces.

between trees. and their leaves.
can the river write. light. into.

the slight.

shift. in elevation. or declination.
from the upper town. down. to the lower.

skews the perspective. of trees rooted.
somewhere. in the middle.

towering. over stone houses.
tiny. or distant.

an iris. of leaves.
bright. in a diffuse light.

the sky beyond. heavy.
rain always. a possibility.

the eye is drawn. to density.
a dark. of trunk. a clump. of ivy.

a shadow. in the centre.
a blind spot. a pupil.

when will.

the last. of these leaves. leave us.
the last. of the gold gilt. elm dance. above us.

the low sun. blind us. to squint path.
past bare bone. shadows thrown.

over green fields. unfurling.
round stone walls. climbing.

into blue distance.

stopping. standing. breathing.
with a cold wind. rattling.

a dwarf oak. sheltering.
in a deep lane.


there are small birds.
among us.


snow. cold. and then some.
trees bare. their skeletons.

the sky breaks.

the trees.
into wind shapes.

everything wakes.
everything moving.

A bright autumn tree against a grey sky. The tree has vibrant orange leaves that obscure all the inner branches. A small house with 2 chimneys is below the tree and 5 smaller trees populate the foreground.

J. R. Carpenter

J. R. Carpenter is an artist, writer, and researcher working across performance, print, and digital media. Questions of place, displacement, migration, colonialism, and climate pervade her work. Her digital poem The Gathering Cloud won the New Media Writing Prize 2016. A print essay by the same name was published by Uniformbooks 2017. Her debut poetry collection An Ocean of Static was highly commended for the Forwarded Prizes 2018. Her most recent collection This is a Picture of Wind, based on a web-app by the same name, was listed in The Guardian’s best poetry books of 2020. She is currently a Research Fellow at Winchester School of Art, working on Weather Reports – Wind as Model, Media, and Experience. https://luckysoap.com

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