Peter Swanson

The Skin Game


What gets into the wind will never get out.
It will follow you across the countryside,
Through pleasant lands, through a youth
Of windblown girls and rootless guys,

Through hastening change, the grass
Of trees replaced by chimney smoke.
Only the rich are in love with the past,
With hedgerows, with rapeseed, with oak.

The rest of us would rather forget.
What smashed our lives can smash them again.
Remembering is an activity

For those who want nothing else. What good
Are trees when childhood's done
Except to remind us how much we once loved trees?