Poem 77 – WWW.

They say you can be lonely in a crowd
Feel isolated, solitary even, in
A throng of others densely gathered round
The tree, perhaps, resides in this position
Bearing so tall, so mighty and so proud
Aloof, and self-sufficient, self-assured
Possessive, owning its own patch of ground
The tree’s an isolated individual
Yes, even in a wood this seems the case
They congregate but each stands on their own
There’s no society found in this place
Where every trunk extends skyward alone
But this estrangement’s our misapprehension
Their interaction’s taking place elsewhere
As down beneath our feet there’s conversation
Within the soil a constant silent prayer
Communing in earth’s cold and damp, dark bed
Along pale fibres intercessions flow
Their whispers spread through mediating threads
Ubiquitous networks of fungal growth
No tree in isolation stands but each
By every other in the wood is cared
No one in need finds it is out of reach
As warnings, news and nutrients are shared
We celebrate the world wide web’s creation
Enabling arms to reach around its girth
But nature could have been our inspiration
Its wood wide web first stretched throughout the earth

I was first properly introduced to the concept of the wood-wide-web when reading Underworld by Robert Macfarlane (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40643657-underland). He writes of the infectious enthusiasm of Merlin Sheldrake (https://www.merlinsheldrake.com/), one of the leading researchers into this symbiotic relationship between trees and fungus, which allows communication across vast areas in ways which until very recently we were unaware of. Absolutely fascinating. His ‘Entangled Life’ is next on my reading list…

© Ben Quant 2022

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