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The trees I can't identify — shadowy — mysterious —
that swarmed once over England,
sprouting from hedges ungovernably in spring
on hillsides in hundreds, thick cloudy groves,
grow fewer by the year. I have marked them now,
those similar willows,
I can name a white birch at half a mile,
and in forty years maybe there'll
be nothing that I don't know
in the whole round air or powdered on a rock
or flitting or scuffling
at midnight or jerking
about in a splash of pond. It will
all be a foreground:
the mole-fleas on the mettlesome mole,
rut and oestrus of campions,
their phenotypes and queer decisions.
I have been looking for what I say there isn't,
though I knew there was once,
and what would break
my heart to find dead.

      — Michael Peverett