Ode from the Oak
I’m the oldest oak in Tottenham, I’m told -
Four hundred at least; most think five.
But the yew trees by the church are twice as old:
A thousand years - and still alive!
I was a tiny sapling when King Henry came
To meet with the Queen of Scotland, his sister.
I heard of the horrors that led to his fame,
But Margaret … well, I’m sorry I missed her.
I do remember Queen Elizabeth the First,
Demanding all succomb to her every need.
How my owner, Compton, must have cursed,
For he had to do exactly as she decreed.
To many more people we acted as host,
But there were no more Royals at the falconry,
And nothing exciting - except for the ghost
Of Lady Lucy who had jumped from the balcony.
I saw Charles Dickens several times
When Bruce Castle was a well-known school,
Where boys who committed minor ‘crimes’
Never got hit for disobeying the rule.
Do you know the street off White Hart Lane
That’s named after Hill, the Headmaster?
To the first Penny Stamp he owed his fame,
Which made the Post fairer and … maybe faster.
The new almshouses seemed very near,
With no tall buildings to get in the way.
Then the park became public for all to come here -
So lots more happening for me to survey!
I lost a huge branch about six years ago,
And I confess that did cause me to fret.
But I can still, in all seasons, put on a good show,
For there are lots of new leaves in me yet!