Vanessa Kirkpatrick’s first collection, To Catch the Light, won the inaugural John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize and was Commended for the Anne Elder Award for best debut collection (2013). Her poetry has been broadcast on national radio. She lives in the Blue Mountains.
The Conversation of Trees
“The Conversation of Trees was inspired by listening to the music of the leaves of different trees at Everglades in Leura. It was a moment in my life when I felt a door – just briefly – had opened on another world, as I listened to the trees pass their secrets to each other – the breeze moving through the branches.
My poem alludes to the story of Caedmon, an illiterate swineherd who worked at a monastery in Yorkshire in the 7th century. In a dream, an angel bid him tell ‘the creation of things’ and he became a monk and the earliest known English Christian poet.
In the poem, I was also thinking about the priestesses in ancient Greece who would divine auguries through listening to the rustling of the oak leaves in Dodona’s sacred grove.
The poem reflects my own poetic aspirations to, in some small way, translate the music of the trees.”