The anthology was edited during the lockdown by Edward Bayliss (Rt U6) and has been illustrated with photos by Mr Yule (Art Faculty).
"We are grateful for the visionary powers of Mrs Matthews, Dr Law and the wizardry of Euan Parr (Rb U6) and the rest of the Natural History team in helping spark this project to life," says Mr Fraser-Andrews, Teacher in Charge of the Creative Writing Society, in his introduction to the anthology.
"The numbered trees in each poem correspond with the numbers on the map at the back of this volume, found online at https://www.shrewsbury.org.uk/news/shrewsbury-tree-walk. I hope these poems enrich any arboreal amble around over 800 trees within our beautiful campus, from the moment you walk through the Moss Gates.
"When we started the process of ‘composting’ our collective imaginations on Thursday afternoons, our creative writers responded to a wide-range of stimuli, from oral and folk traditions of ‘The Green Man’ and other local legends, from the writings of Andrew Allott, former head of Biology and Shrewsbury’s tree expert par excellence, and from excerpts from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and 20th and 21st century treatments of this seminal work which, among other things, explores the idea of change so profoundly. The title of this volume is taken from the poem ‘Philemon and Baucis’ by Thom Gunn, from his collection The Man with Night Sweats (1992), which was written, in part, as an elegy composed in the shadow of AIDS.
"Setting out last year, we had no idea how drastically life would change, nor in what ways the conditions of writing these pieces would alter so dramatically with the onset of a national lockdown and the school closure in response to this pandemic of our own time. Written from afar, some of these poems therefore conjure a spirit of the place recollected, if not in tranquillity, then with intimate fondness, somehow capturing both the dynamic of natural mutability and an unforgettable chapter in The Schools’ five centuries of history. Yet it is also poetry that expresses an urge to seek reassurance and inspiration from Nature’s simultaneous ability to project strengths that appear to transcend change itself."
Please follow the link to download a copy of the anthology: Fire Engine 2020
Crescant arbores. Floreat Salopia.