James Alexander


That old oak tree was in sight
long before Westways
and my childhood home.
Long before the glint of the train light
bouncing off the gasometer dome,
standing, an always.

A constant reminder of the past
long before the Cuddington Estate fence,
and the line of elm trees, now dead.
One of a kind, the last
remainder of a home-stead,
remembered fifty years hence.

I used to look out, half-close
my eyes so that I could see
the landscape unbounded:
fields, hedges, crops in rows,
not a mighty oak surrounded
by suburban pre-war conformity.

I now have the vista I craved.
There’s that same tree, undisputed.
But who has followed whom?
It’s not that prospect that’s been saved,
as you might assume.
I’m now here, fighting the past, rooted.


James describes himself as a ‘Sometime writer and performer of poetry and comedy. Sometimes both together’. His poetry, like his comedy, reflects his fascination with stories, situations and moments. He was the first poet published by the Soor Ploom Press and is included in their collection ‘Short and Sweet’. His poems can also be found in ‘Firsts’ (Six Pence Society Journal), Close Up (poems on cancer, grief, hope and healing – Orchard Lea Books). He is looking forward to being included in the up-and-coming anthology ‘What if this is all real’ from the Hedgehog Poetry Press.