Roots

by Roger McGough

Like a poem around a tree
Like a freedom flag unfurled
A homeless refugee
I have travelled round the world

I remember slanted mountains with dusted white peaks
ivory snow and emerald green trees.
I remember the tickle going up my spine
when birds settled on my branches.
The soft footfall of a passing fox.

I remember the sweet smell of pine-scented smoke
wafting from chocolate log cabins.
I remember thinking that there will come a time soon
When I will no longer remember any of this:

A sickle moon
The scrunching sound of footsteps
A brutal saw chomping through my bark
and the snow slides off me like a silken robe.

The squabble of sea birds and an icy deck
the savagery of ropes and roller-coasting waves,
until eventually, the warm cuddle of sleep.

In a clearing in the concrete forest of a city
I rise to the noise of pigeons and car horns,
Of children laughing and crowds cheering.
With 500 white lights I am adorned. Am excited.
Crowned with a star. I am adored and delighted.

When the children leave and the music stops
And the lights and the words taken down
Unlike the tree I have put down roots
In London, my new home town

Lights, camera, action!
A switch is pulled
and I light up like an angel.