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Beach tree

On scorched and conflagrated sands,

In sapped and grudging desolation,

The solitary Upas stands

Grim sentinel of all creation.

– from The Upas Tree (Анчар) by Alexander Pushkin

read more
a variety of other translations
listen in Russian

Praa Sands, Cornwall, May 2021

Praa Sands was a regular summer pleasure in my childhood. On a recent visit, I was shocked to see the toll that erosion has taken in the last 50 years.
This solitary tree has descended from the gardens above and now stands grimly on the sands below. It immediately reminded me of the Pushkin Anchar(Анчар) poem, but the desiccated tree also had its own poetic words attached:

Touching the cliff I held on so hard

Now here’s where I stand, still proud but scarred

My bark has come off and my leaves are all gone

But I am again that proud tree that is still hanging on.

– from The Beach Tree by Beach Bum

full version below



Copyright Debbie Smyth, 30 July 2021

Posted as part of Becky’s TreeSquare

18 replies »

  1. That tree certainly did its best! When we lived in Ohio, you see the banks of Lake Erie eroding a little at a time. It’s been going on for years and people who built too close to the edge are getting a bit worried!


  2. The erosion in some parts of this country is terrifying, but apparently it is all being added somewhere else?!

    Just love how we are treated to two poems today, loving your opening stanza, and then the tree’s own poem. So beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think erosion plus human-induced climate change is a big concern now. I’m glad I don’t live close to the coast. But recent flooding suggests many of us will feel as though we are close to the coast!
      And the opening stanza was a brilliant translation of Pushkin. I found a few others, but this was the best (to me)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah I was thinking climate change I was looking at it – I’m not sure any of us are quite ready though to drastically change our lives as we need to to help slow it down. And governments and big businesses are certainly not encouraging us or helping us in any shape or form to change. I shudder to think what my granddaughter’s world is going to be like in 50 years or so

        Liked by 1 person

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