Children in the Cherry Tree

They perch in the cherry tree – two fledglings
Not quite hidden, gigglers in the dusk, hatching a plan.
The tree begins to shake them. It is not laughing,
It groans, its limbs beat slowly like prehistoric wings
And skin-soft leaves, yellow and pink and red cascade.

So high and so cold, the tree now such a stranger.

Peering out from their eyrie, and down through the web
Of branches, the silent high-riders hear shouts
In their throats. Their colours are lowered, dashes
Of scarlet and white legging it down as light fails.
As darkness lopes along the waiting blue hills.

by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Upcoming events from the Poetry Centre

This week, as part of the Amazing Acts festival at the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford, Oxford Brookes presents two literary events. On Thursday 10th May at 7pm, Philip Pullman and Kate Clanchy host a showcase for competitively-selected students of the prestigious Oxford Brookes Creative Writing MA Programme. On Friday 11th May at 7.30, poet Fiona Sampson presents ‘Science Writes to Life’, an event in which budding and professional poets read original writing inspired by contact with scientists at Oxford Brookes. Fiona Sampson will also be reading some of her own work, commissioned by the Poetry Centre. All are welcome to these evenings, and more details about these and other festival events, including ticket information, can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.

‘Children in the Cherry Tree’ is copyright © Kevin Crossley-Holland, 2011. It is reprinted from The Mountains of Norfolk by permission of Enitharmon Press.

Notes from Enitharmon:

Kevin Crossley-Holland is a poet, translator from Anglo-Saxon, and Carnegie Medal-winning author for children. His new and selected poems, The Mountains of Norfolk, was published in 2011, and brought together poems from eight previous collections. These works are spare yet sensuous, bearing witness to relationships, history, East Anglia, language and the craft of writing, and the meeting-places of body and spirit. The volume also contains a group of new poems musing on youth and old age, friendship, love and the layers of landscape. Kevin Crossley-Holland is the author of the bestselling Arthur trilogy, Gatty’s Tale and The Penguin Book of Norse Myths. His most recent book for children is Bracelet of Bones, in which a Viking girl travels from Norway to Constantinople, and he is the author of The Hidden Roads, a memoir of childhood. Kevin has worked with many composers and artists, and with Lawrence Sail he has edited two anthologies for Enitharmon Press: The New Exeter Book of Riddles and Light Unlocked: Christmas Card Poems. Kevin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Patron of the Society for Storytelling and of Publishing House Me, and an Honorary Fellow of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He is currently the President of the School Library Association. He lives in north Norfolk with his wife and four children. You can read another selection from The Mountains of Norfolk here, and find out more about Kevin Crossley-Holland from his website.

Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. You can sign up to the publisher’s mailing list here to receive a newsletter with special offers, details of readings & events and new titles and Enitharmon’s Poem of the Month.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.