Published: February 24, 2012
By PETER GRUNER
POET Pele Cox has penned a verse in praise of four London plane trees threatened with the axe where she lives at Richmond Crescent, Barnsbury.
Ms Cox, poet-in-residence at the Royal Academy of Art, was inspired to write the work after she spoke against a plan to remove the trees at a planning hearing at Islington Town Hall last week.
In the verse, Richmond Crescent Trees, she writes about “enchanted empires of the sky,” and being without the trees “to sooth wind and heart...”
Insurers on behalf of a resident in the crescent claim that roots from the four specimens are causing subsidence to her property.
A planning inspector who chaired the hearing must decide whether or not there are sufficient grounds to axe the trees. He will give his decision soon
Meanwhile, Ms Cox’s mother Judy spoke in support of her daughter this week, and of her work planting trees in the borough more than 40 years ago. She says this is now being undermined by insurance claims.
Former theatre designer Mrs Cox described the borough in those days as scruffy and devoid of street trees.
With a group of neighbours, Mrs Cox planted rows of trees, including mountain ash and lime in Barnsbury Road, pink hawthorn in Barnsbury Square, and specimens in Halton Road where she lived for 35 years until the 1990s.
They also planted red roses in Barnard Park and helped form a Friends group.
The street tree scheme was supported by Islington Council, who paid half towards the cost of the trees, with the community paying the other half.
Mrs Cox, who now lives in Ludlow, said she’d heard from Pele about the threat to the plane trees and was very sad. “They are wonderful specimens and I hope the inspector supports the majority of residents who want to keep them.”
by Pele Cox
Imagine the trees as ghosts,
occupying an imagined air.
A frame, no picture there, or birds’
happening grace. Subject to control, to
haunt the world – their application to survive is
Denied. I rest at home,
without them to sooth wind and heart
and wonder what will
make enchanted empires of the sky.
I look up, I look up, these trees
do not bend truth. Who will insure their breath
when it is gone; The child’s sleeping head?
The old maps extinction?
And all the remnants of this love
for the wild, becoming just
the leafy cracks of our imagination.