Renowned poet Carol Ann Duffy created a new work to celebrate our centenary, inspired by the nation’s forests.
FOREST is a celebration of the endurance and life-cycle of the forest, reminding us of our place in the natural world and how trees sustain life on earth.
Enjoy a written version of the poem below.
During our centenary year, we invited people to send us their poems, letters and stories telling us what trees, forests and woodlands mean to them. Take a moment to browse our online gallery
In fact, the trees are murmuring under your feet,
a buried empathy; you tread it.
High over your head,
the canopy sieves light; a conversation
you lip-read. The forest
keeps different time;
slow hours as long as your life,
so you feel human.
So you feel more human; persuaded what you are
by wordless breath of wood, reason in resin.
You might name them-
oak, ash, holly, beech, elm-
but the giants are silence alive, superior,
and now you are all instinct;
swinging the small lamp of your heart
as you venture their world:
the green, shadowy, garlic air
your ancestors breathed.
Ah, you thought love human
till you lost yourself in the forest,
but it is more strange.
These grave and patient saints
who pray and pray
and suffer your little embrace.
Carol Ann Duffy
Copyright © Carol Ann Duffy, 2019