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UNDER THE LIME TREES

For Mike Rogerson

 

The layout of our local park was finished

the year my mother was born, the year

before the Great War was started, and named

for Alexandra Saxe-coburg and Gotha

née Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,

widow of the late King. An avenue

of lime trees – and a single row along

another path – was planted. My mother,

the Spring of the year she was war-widowed,

pushed me in my pram beneath them.

 

Berlin’s Unter Den Linden avenue –

that stretches from the Brandenburg Gate

to the razed imperial palace –

was named for a medieval poem of love

and lust that became a song. ‘Under

the lime… sweetly sang the nightingale…’

As the Red Army encircled the city,

the last of the trees was felled for firewood.

 

In the scullery of the house we shared

with my mother’s mother, her two sisters

and their step-brother (gassed at Ypres),

the draining board and the mangles’ rollers

were made from lime, and the piano’s keys

in the back room. Under the lime trees

in the park my granddaughter races,

still carefree of history’s absurd

ironies – and, oh, so many loving ghosts.

 

 

 

© Copyright David Selzer
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3 Responses
  • Clive Watkins
    May 28, 2019

    Yes, David. So many loving ghosts… I like the historical recession here.

  • JOHN HUDDART
    May 29, 2019

    As do I! Lime Trees make good poetry, as well as piano keys, apparently!

  • Kate Harrison
    June 26, 2019

    Mike Rogerson. Crafting wood like poetry.

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