Author Archives: benhenleysmith

The Broken Pine

Born to the autumn, in the beginning the young pine tree was alone and so it continued. Her bark was tough from loneliness and her trunk was thick.

She rose away from the ground and towards hope in the sky. She was starting to look like the other pines and that felt good.

But then the wind changed and the rain beat down. For months it came from one side like a wall of water. When it ended she was broken and leaning and hurt. 

The other pines laughed. Together they were ok so she cried and gave up. Everyday she’d wish she was like them with friends and straight trunks. Now she sank and all was lost, until a little girl saw her. 

Are you ok? She said 
I am broken, said the pine 
The little girl looked at her trunk now falling and she was confused. 

You are not broken, she said  
You are hurt and need help.

With her palm the little girl touched her trunk. 

You need a hand, said the girl  
And here you go, here is mine.

Something inside the pine was happy. This was a new feeling. 

Here is love, the girl said 
And you will grow now, if you want to.

Sure enough, the pine grew up and around 
and out. When she got bigger her leaves sprouted and the birds came. The birds loved her so they stayed and the squirrels loved her so they stayed. And when she looked around she was taller than any pine she could see.


When I was young
I would play with my brothers 
on the grass and my white socks 
would turn green 

We would be outside 
until the windows 
were yellow with light 
and the sky was black 

You couldn’t see the ball 
until it hit you 
in the mouth 
and you needed mum 

In the evening and night
you couldn’t see her flowers 
so there was no damage  
and that was just as well 

If we stay out
I will keep on throwing 
and my hand will hurt 
but I won’t mind


The city is my life support 
But I am not from here, perfectly plucked
Placed in this bed of flowers
I am a resident, not a citizen 
My growth, exists to make others 
Busy doing the important work
Happy to see the green things 
Are still here holding on 

They came and in the name of God 
Took my home whilst I slept
Your holy city, not mine 
I no longer belong 
Now I watch my cause 
Stolen by others 
Burn, turn to rubble 
All around me 

Why did fate lead me here 
With no place 
To love or  
As if trapped 
In a bed of flowers 
From home

Debris of night

To be made 
the day must break 
only light can cut the dark.

Left behind,
splinters of white haze
blanket the cool ground,

hovering debris
the only sign 
something else was here. 

Seconds pass 
and the sun sees
that it ends.

The gifts of this half way 
between night and day 

the low orbit 
air of night

I wish 
it would return 
I know it won’t.

People come 
from their houses 
into the dawn;

one, two, three 
now all at 

school, work
cars, bikes 

I hear a train 
in the distance 
doing things 

sweeping up bodies
as it

We begin, 
in the light of day 

that pierced
the sky 
of it’s dark

Yellow brown perish

The edges of your yellow
brown from the autumn 
disembark, one by one 
floating with indecision 
one way then the next

I know you want to stay
next to all you have known 
to be right 
and safe 
your place

It is here now 
in the beauty of this 
in the elegant sway of 

Your only choice  
forget your 
let go

hand yourself
to greater things 
and be lost 
in the echo 


Beaten by what we know but don’t see 
swirls of air 
somehow over years of standing 
gave you that rubbery face 

Rich red, cracking  
chunks breaking, running 
up and down
wrapping what’s hidden 
inside your cloak 

A wink. You’ve watched me
follow these tracks before
my young face, swift gait, 
fast pace

So was he. My mothers dad, tall 
with a downward gaze
skin like rubber that told
stories of good and bad  
of things never spoken now seen 

He once had a chest 
experience harder fought than mine 
his badge, that with age, withdrew 
replaced by kindness to a world 
he’d forced his way through 

You remind me of him,
perhaps hidden inside of you 
he is there, watching me 
as I pass on by 
and the sun drifts across the sky

From the brown

Roots tumble 
From the brown
Bathing her feet 
Into finer health  
Now she’s up  
Climbing above the eyeline

Roots born 
From the brown 
Revealed by a tide gone now
To the distant lake 
Further than can be reached 
Or returned

Roots work 
Preparing her with 
What she needs 
Against the forces 
Of wither and 

Roots break 
And bow 
Their fragility known
Only to those  
Raising their toes 
From the dirt

Roots cave  
When their grip has been
Fingers powerless to hold 
The coming and going 
Endless holding  

Roots stretch 
Under sodden silt  
For wealth 
We are blind to
Under us 

Roots search 
For answers that go 
Years forgotten 
Now upturned 
To the air 

Too young

I see you now
Twisting and turning in your bed
A green felt, that in the light of day
Savours the Sun’s breath

The moment breaks and your foilage 
Still, until caught by wind
Bellows the sound of waves 
Crashing upon the shore

I remember life before, the small house
Sandwiched between forest and sea 
I was too young to know you then
Too old to embrace you care free   

A boy full of lust and longing 
Spikey hair and new shoes 
If we’d met then as we do now
I would not have been any less lost 

Though I sense you will escape me
Off into the glittering sky
When for a moment 
It was only us  

Your gentle arms  
Onto care for another
Who when they were younger 
Forgot to look up

Water Sheet

Nothing glides upon thinly cut water sheet
Not a young bird washing their fresh belly 
Or hovering flies at its fickle edge 
Or the timid fox nervous at night 
Some rest for those under the surface at last   
The slice that keeps two worlds apart
Secrets now shut under deepening ice


The day limbers from its early rise
Shoots stay clenched in their fist 
Twigs hang onto their aching branch 
It isn’t long
What’s hidden will soon flirt 
With the coming of sun
Of hope


Now it rushes with undivided mite
Into a new blue, light 
White ice, gone, now the sound of
Circling wings sing and the crisping air
Reveals truth 
The coming of life

Swift gift

Your orange eyes are all
I see when I think of 
Firm ice holding 
Your shape 
For it will end 
To melt is to know 
How it was to play 
In the winter cold 

Surely it is better 
To have sticks for arms 
Than to have lived
Without them 
Though your time is brief 
It must be worth 

You will topple and tumble 
To a puddle 
Regular and 
But you will have lived 
Come and gone 
Your swift