Sunday 30 September 2012

A celebration of the Tree Alphabet

Over the past year I've been celebrating the ancient link between writing and trees, as expressed in the Gaelic Tree Alphabet, or Ogham, which links a native woodland species with each letter. As part of the A-B-Tree project (see for more details) I challenged myself to write a poem for each species, and the result is a pamphlet of poems. I wanted to incorporate Bill Ritchie's photos too, and after a lot of fiddling about with layout and format, we settled on a two-part pamphlet, with the poems in one part and a pull-out strip of pictures.

I have hand-crafted 18 of these, one for each letter of the alphabet, and each is unique. The toggle on the front is made of the relevant species, with a felt leaf approximating to the right shape for each.

As the process has gone on, it began to feel clear that this is in no way a commercial venture and the pamphlets are not for sale. Instead, we are giving them to people who have been supportive of the project or of me and Bill. It has been really hard to decide who to give them to - 18 is in no way enough to thank all of the people we would like to thank. But they are now winging their way out into the world.

Hopefully I'll find another way to make the poems a bit more accessible. The photos are all up on the A-B-Tree web page.