The Talking oaks of Crossbury Park

by Ghanim Anaz

This is the story of a few ancient oak trees standing close to both the river Gade and the Grand Union Canal in Cassiobury Park in Watford, Herts., United Kingdom.

It was written for the author’s grand children, two of them twin girls age six and lived overseas. The poem was read to the twins and fired their imaginations. They couldn’t wait for their summer holiday to come to visit the trees. When they arrived in Watford, their Gran took them to the park and were excited to see the trees and suddenly started talking to them. When they heard no answer they asked their Gran why weren’t they answering them back? Their Gran was quick to explain that they are magic trees and would only talk to their grandfather!

While I stood admiring the ancient oak
I hopefully asked, tell me, can you talk
Though you don’t seem to move at all
Yet you have grown so thick and tall

The answer came in a nice whispering tone
As you know, my origin was a humble corn
In this park, I was planted a long time ago
Perhaps five or six hundred years or so

Though my trunk has grown so very thick
I my youth, I was such a skinny stick
And though my life is full of nice memories
Yet, I have also had my share of agonies

The memories that I remember and cherish best
Are of courting couples having me as a love nest
Names have been lovingly carved in my trunk
Beautiful hearts and arrows also deeply sunk

My trunk has been home to so many squirrels
Amusing me with their love N rowdy quarrels
On my branches, birds have peacefully rested
Sang their hearts out, courted and finally nested

People love to rest in my inviting shade
After their walks in the nearby glade
Sometimes, I just love to stand still and dream
While my feet get washed by the gentle stream

Other times, I prefer relaxing in the breeze
Letting my leaves dance with perfect ease
And so my friend as you can see
A busy life can be led by an oak tree

Watford, Herts
Sept 1994