The Poem Tree
Engraved in 1844 on a tree at Wittenham Clumps by Joseph Tubb.
Zoe and I spent some time learning about this today while walking the dog, and it seems interesting enough to be worth sharing
The tree died in the 1990s and rotted completely while standing, before collapsing during a period of inclement weather in July 2012
(h/t @Wikipedia … and one of my favourite apps : V for Wiki)
Thankfully in 1965 Dr. Henry Osmaston made a tracing of the carving - I love the textual distortion from the trees growth over a hundred years.
The poem itself is pretty great at sharing incredible insights into the rich history of this part of Oxfordshire…
The full poem follows :
The Poem Tree
As up the hill with labring steps we tread Where the twin Clumps their sheltering branches spread The summit gain'd at ease reclining lay And all around the wide spread scene survey Point out each object and instructive tell The various changes that the land befel Where the low bank the country wide surrounds That ancient earthwork forridold Murcias bounds. In misty distance see the barrow heave There lies forgotten lonely Culchelms grave.
Around this hill the ruthless Danes infrenched And these fair plains with gory slaughter drench’d While at our feet where stands that stately tower In days gone by uprose the Roman power And yonder, there where Thames smooth waters glide In later days appeared monastic pride. Within that field where lies the grazing herd Huge walls were found, some coffins disinter d Such is the course of time, the wreck which fate And awiul doom award the earthly great.
The text transcript was grabbed off the photo using the built in iOS photos app.
.. and here I am, 175 years later… sharing the poem with potentially anyone in the world with access to the Web (and via Twitter).
How remarkable is our species at Storytelling.