Two ghosts sat in a tree gusting songs and talking,
yakking about the moon round as a bullet hole.
The sky is soldered black, yet to be opened by dawn,
thunk it with clods of earth and know it never will.
Everything but those ghosts has stopped. Grass stopped
dog stopped tree stopped whole turning world stopped.
I can’t quit chattering. Teeth are going like guns.
Like the ones yelping into the wind all night long.
The ghosts are pretending to eat a chicken
they lick their fingers, burp, its a bad joke
I can’t stop, can’t stop thinking thoughts like comets
they run out a head of me and clunk the black sky.
The ghosts are pretending to shoot each other
they click their fingers, bang, it’s a bad joke
I can’t quit twitching. I twitch a thought that was once
an idea inside a boy look out for soldiers.
Three ghosts sat in a tree, sing a song, pluck a chicken,
throw light at that stopped up sky.
“This poem was written in response to the Poetry School’s online course, The woods are lovely, dark and deep: Articulating Death. I was sitting in the British Library looking at images of war for several days as I researched another project. I then closed the books, and wrote this poem.
A few days after I writing the poem, I went to a musician friend’s studio to improvise some music and he asked if I had any lyrics. All I had to hand was ‘Look Out Tree’. We made it into a song and you can listen to its first recording here: https://soundcloud.com/ebeccaackenzie/look-out-tree“