IVY    by Margaret Sheppard


 Ivy and I go back a long way

 I knew her when she was young and tender

 and she started to climb my favourite oak

 She was faithful and hung on tightly           

 For years she embraced him lovingly

 surreptitiously growing when no-one was looking

 and slyly insinuating her tendrils into his trunk



She always wore green and covered herself in shining glory

 As a youngster she adorned herself with three-lobed juvenile leaves

 But as she matured they became smooth-edged

 and she produced flowers which turned to berries

 People loved her for her kindness to the honey bees

 when most other plants were preparing for winter.

 She discreetly dropped her used brown leaves

 and generously harboured a myriad insects

 And no-one noticed her relentless rise to the upper branches



A decade of my suspicious vigilance

 saw her steal warily along some branches

 and strengthen her grip on the main trunk

 vying with it to be a tree herself with her muscular coils

 She took advantage of the tree's kindness

 Until finally she enveloped every branch


The oak's silent gasping for light and air

 went unobserved as did his drying bark


Another decade passed

Ivy's head rose triumphantly in a canopy of dense vines

offering a sail to the prevailing winds.

One stormy night a gale caught her mantle

and bent it till the wet ground yielded

and the bole of the oak slowly emerged as a large mound

the ends of the roots snapping under the strain



My great friend fell but Ivy lives on unperturbed
                                                                                                                 By kind permission of Margaret Sheppard ©2019

photo taken in coast path Eastcliff Park 2017