Battlefield Tree Poem by Lucy Burrow

Battlefield Tree

Rating: 4.1

I’m the tree on the battlefield – a pitiful sight
I watch as the bullets fly to left and to right
I’m the tree that’s watched blood flow from every man’s heart
I’m the tree on the battlefield, half blown apart.

It’s many the year I’ve stood firm in this soil
Where centuries farmers, long time they did toil
There used to be ten of us handsome and tall
And I’ve stood and I’ve wept as each brother did fall

In No man’s land, sadly my fate is to be
Twixt the lines of the English and High Germany
Each brother in arms, as he fights for the cause,
Thinks he’ll vanquish the foe in the war to end wars

A young English soldier with valiant heart
Lay low ‘neath my branches, his mates blown apart
I could feel in his hands how he’d tended with care
Of the soil in a fine English Garden somewhere

In a moment of dreaming, as the gaff it raged high
Together we went to that place, him and I
Once more in the sunshine and peace of the day
He tended bright flowers, he brought in the hay

Then a shell shook the earth, Back in Flanders we lay
It had taken his leg and my branches away
We stood broken together, together we fell
Him and me on that battlefield half blown to hell

I’m the tree on the battlefield – a pitiful sight
I watch as the bullets fly to left and to right
I’m the tree that’s watched blood flow from every man’s heart
I’m the tree on the battlefield, half blown apart.

Jon Lloyd 11 November 2005

I think it's all been said already, but I loved this. What makes it special for me is the way that Nature's impassiveness is used to pull at the heart strings. I DID like the refrain, too, by the way... Jon.

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Joseph Daly 10 November 2005

I have to agree with Mary, this is outstanding. I think you have picked the correct structure (traditonalist) to put across your point of view. I cannot imagine this in any other way. Unlike Owen and Sassoon, for example, you write from a distance and this is a very brave thing to do. However the theme (like those of the great war poets) remains timeless. That you have avoided the cliche of the pointlessness of WW1 does you enormous credit. Denis Joe

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Mary Nagy 07 November 2005

Oh my gosh Lucy! This is such a touching poem. I have never thought from this perspective. How beautifully sad you've managed to capture the pain that is felt from war at all angles. Great poem. Sincerely, mary

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Ernestine Northover 26 October 2005

As I love trees Lucy, I was hard put to keep a tear dropping over this one. I thought it was a lovely poem and cleverly thought out. Sincerely Ernestine Northover

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Stuart Mason 25 October 2005

I like the perspective of this poem. I don't know if anyone has assumed the persona of a tree during war but i like how you used it. The images are strong though i was worried about the emphasis being placed very strongly on the Englishman; though i guess that is just natural and i shouldn't impose my own fear of nationalism on fine poetry. I don't like the refrain, however. It seems a bit facile and, although i am not a fan of refrains admittedly, i think the stanza before was the best yet and would have been an excellent placed to end. That is just my personal opinion though.

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Christopher Tye 06 September 2016

Really great poem, trees have borne witness to the worst of humanity's endeavors.

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Marina Gipps 20 May 2007

I usually don't read rhyme but this poem is a fine accomplishment of rhyme that uses imagery to its advantage. Great poem. Title works as well.

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Rajaram Ramachandran 30 November 2005

The half blown tree would have said the same thing what Lucy says in this poem, had it been given a mouth to speak. A wonderful imagination to link a soldier with a blown out tree in the battle field. This should be an eye opener to the war mongers.

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Lucy Burrow 12 November 2005

......or even, Thank you Jon!

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Lucy Burrow 11 November 2005

Tank you Jon, The refrain is there, for me, saying that the tree's still there, the war has gone, not a grautuitous repetition, just a statement really. Glad you liked it.

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Lucy Burrow

Lucy Burrow

Nigeria, West Africa
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