My good friend Aisling Creedon is a damn good story writer. One night in 2004 she drunkenly wrote a poem called 'Jane and the tree' and sent it to me.
And lo, this collaboration was born of two emo teenagers with nothing else to do.
One day, a little girl called Jane walked out of her house and saw a tree.
The tree wasn’t moving, but everything else was.
Jane wondered if she just kept looking at the tree, would everything else stop too?
So Jane stood for many days, watching the tree in all its silent splendour.
The days melted in to months, and the months in to years,
but she felt as though the whole world had stopped for her.
One day Jane was watching the tree when a foul wind blew in from the East.
It was a chill wind and its merciless fingers clawed at her throat.
She let it whip around her perfect tree,
blissfully confident that all was still well.
Suddenly, but also not suddenly at all, a leaf broke away
from its home and drifted nonchalantly towards the ground.
Then another, then another.
Jane watched them fall and felt her tears do the same.
Then she looked down at herself for the first time in months,
and realised that the season had changed her too.
She was grown, and she knew what to do.
She turned around and walked away from her tree, in the winter of its life.
She realised that time did not stand still for little girls or trees,
and she was not going to wait for the season to run out on her.

Change is good, Jane thought to herself, as she hummed a tune she didn’t know.​​​​​​​
Jane’s bedroom was a mess of sleep and art.
It smelt of her restless dog and unfinished paintings,
and was filled with the hypnotizing murmur of a fish tank
that sometimes even managed to suffocate the Raven’s cries.
The rest of the house was not home.
Each room was a mystery of possessions that meant nothing to Jane;
an immaculate assembly of purposeless ornaments
who’s sentimental value was far overestimated by her mother,
who only ever wanted things to look nice.
As for Jane’s little town, it sprawled out carelessly at the foot of her hill,
diseased by too many years of disinterest.
Derelict buildings and tired estates scarred the breathless streets,
as the residents trod their lives into the mud.
“One day”, thought Jane, “I am going to break something,
burn something,
smash something...
Just so I can believe that things change.”
​​​​​​​
Jane sat pensively in the corner of her ceiling,
staring at herself shouting soundlessly at her father.
It was quiet up there and the angry words
were swallowed by the air before they met her ears.
The only thing that reached her was music.
It’s notes, gentle and violent in turn, filled the air like smoke
and Jane breathed them in.
The argument below escalated and so she wandered out her window
and up to the roof.
There was an explosion going on above the clouds
and the sun reached it’s fingers through the cracks to warm Jane’s face.
‘Perhaps if I sit here for long enough’, she thought,
‘I will become the music, and this sunset will never burn out.’
The sky spun and the days morphed around her, the light melting over and over
into inevitable darkness, only to return again.
Jane sat still in the centre of the changes, and dreamt herself alive for a while.​​​​​​​
Jane liked animals. Animals did not refuse to listen to her,
or shout, or get too tired to do either.
This is why she decided, at an age small enough to count on one hand,
to think of everything in terms of nature.
Her family called to mind a thousand analogies,
but the one she settled on was birds.
Her mother had the lugubrious blue-grey eyes of a Jackdaw.
Her laugh rose high over ostentatious dinner parties,
but her eyes never joined in the mirth of her lips.
Jane’s brother was a Magpie.
His gaze was sharp for some glimpse of money,
and his treacherous hands often closed
over pennies and pounds
that he had not earned.
Jane did not dwell on the image of her father, the Raven.
Her family was engulfed by his wings.
Sidestepping them all neatly,
Jane turned her curious gaze on herself,
feeling that she was a Crow.
After all, no-one really takes time to get to know the Crow.
But she didn’t mind; no-one needed to know anyway.
Jane was a girl who loved a tragedy.
In life’s maelstrom of indifference, a little desperation was a good thing.
She considered the world to be flat, and not in the geographical sense.
Her walk to school was not unpleasant,
but it illustrated, each day, her suspicions.
Being able to tell the time by the people you see is an unpleasant sensation,
when all you are foraging for is a little excitement.
Jane mused idly on the possibility of an adventure;
of pirates and smugglers, and professional up-to-no-gooders.
But they always seemed so far away, from a little town with a virus of estate agents.
As she set her clock by the postman’s arrival,
Jane wondered what a world outside here would be like.
An infusion of singular smells, foreign sights,
and a desire to stay for a hundred forever’s.
Tired of more than just this single day, she agreed to a sleep
that would find her wasting away
in dreams that would never come true,
Back to Top