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Plum Tree Poem by Britain's Poet Laureate

The poet laureate, Simon Armitage, has written a new poem which pays homage to spring, in celebration of World Poetry Day.

Pink spring blossom flowers

Plum Tree Among the Skyscrapers is the first in a collection of poems inspired by blossom and commissioned by the National Trust.

Its publication marks the beginning of the Trust’s annual blossom campaign, in which the charity will vow to bring blossom back to landscapes across the UK by planting 20m trees by 2030 to help tackle both the climate and nature crises.

Plum Tree Among the Skyscrapers by Simon Armitage

She’s travelled for years

through tangled forests

and formal gardens,

edged along hedgerows,

set up her stall

on tenanted farms

then moved on, restless,

empty handed sometimes,

sometimes with fruit

in her arms.

She’s hopscotched

through graveyards and parks,

settled down in allotments,

clung to a church roof

by a toe.

She’s pitched camp on verges

and hard shoulders,

stumbled on threadbare moors

above the tree-line

and slummed it on wasteland,

but dug in on steep hillsides

and rough ground.

She was Queen of the May

on a roundabout once

in a roundabout way.

She’s piggy-backed

across trading estates, hitched

in a mistle thrush beak,

drifted with thistledown.

She’s thumbed a lift into town.

Now here she is,

in a cracked slab

in a city square

in a square mile

mirrored by glass and steel,

dwarfed by money

and fancy talk.

Hand-me-down brush,

pre-loved broom,

to the paid-by-the-minute

suits and umbrellas

and lunchtime shoppers

she’s a poor Cinderella

rootling about

in a potting compost

of burger boxes

and popped poppers.

In that world,

orchard and orphan

are one and the same.

But she’s here to stay -

plum in the middle -

and today she’s fizzing

with light and colour,

outshining the smug sculptures

and blubbering fountains.

Scented and powdered

she’s staging

a one-tree show

with hi-viz blossoms

and lip-gloss petals;

she’ll season the pavements

and polished stones

with something like snow.


Poet Laureate's Tribute Poem to The Queen: Penned by Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, his poem is called Floral Tribute. You can read the poem or listen to him reciting it himself. More...

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