Being True to Yourself

In the woods, a tree.
By the river, a beech tree.

With exposed roots, a tall beech tree.
I wish I could be so fully myself
as this tree is fully a tall beech tree.
I wish I could plant myself
so sturdy in the soil.

The tree is its own shape.
Twisted and stooped, this tree
is the shape of a beech tree.

I wish I could be so fully my own shape.
I wish I could rest easy
on my own roots.
I wish that when I laughed,
the mast* of my old self would fall
and crunch underfoot all winter.
By the stone beach, a beech tree.

The tree asks no permission.
The beech tree makes no apologies.
The tall beech tree.

It thinks in leaves and speaks
in the movement of the leaves
and says

I will take space from the air.
I will take up space in the woods.
I will open my arms wide.
I will lose all I have and regain it.
I will be nothing but myself.

I am. I will grow.

*mast – the fruit of a beech tree

from Courage in a Poem by Various authors, Illustrated by Various Illustrators (Little Tiger Press, 2022)

© Rachel Plummer
With kind permission from the poet and Little Tiger Press.

from Courage in a Poem by Various authors, Illustrated by Various Illustrators
(Little Tiger Press, 2022)

Rachel Plummer

Rachel Plummer is a poet living in Edinburgh. They are a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award winner (2016) and have won or placed in numerous other awards and competitions, including the Troubadour Prize, the Flambard Prize, the Penfro, and Canterbury Festival’s Poet of the Year Award. They run creative writing workshops for children and teens. They have two children, three guinea pigs, and entirely too many books.

Visit Rachel's website