The Swing Tree
News is the old swing tree is down.
Lies full length in the river its toe tips showing.
Only the root bole and a crooked arm waving.
The bank is calm, empty of boys.
Each summer they came trying the rope swing, the jumps,
to scare themselves daring higher each time.
Each jump was named, charged with its own danger.
The first, easy, Fairy then Wendy to Twigamala where the bough bulged out.
Fourth, which meant an extra climb, was Kuntekinte.
Getting higher now, the great Obi One
till highest, where the big boys played, though knees trembled as they jumped,
The river boiled with screams and laughter, rippled and splashed
to the green banks, to the hot leaves. No more.
Quiet now, the old swing tree is down.
poem and photograph Rose Cook