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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

A Tree is Growing...

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

This is perhaps cheating somewhat, but I'm not feeling entirely well today, so in place of a sketch, I thought I would share this print I made a couple of years ago. Here it is printed on a thin rusty orange homemade paper:

A friend once shared a poem with me by the Orkney poet George Mackay Brown. It was a poem written for her daughter, Emma. In it is the line:

A tree is growing
    That will be a tall mast

Such a hopeful phrase, in the context of a poem filled with light and promise, and it does indeed

resonate with the image.

Here is the whole poem:

A New Child: ECL
George Mackay Brown 

 Wait a while, small voyager
    On the shore, with seapinks and shells.
The boat
    Will take a few summers to build.
    That you must make your voyage in. 

 You will learn the names.
 That golden light is ‘sun’ – ‘moon’
    The silver light
 That grows and dwindles.
And the beautiful small splinters
    That wet the stones, ‘rain’.

 There is a voyage to make,
    A chart to read,
 But not yet, not yet.
    ‘Daisies’ spill from your fingers.
    The night daisies are ‘stars’.
 The keel is laid, the strakes
    Will be set, in time.
 A tree is growing
    That will be a tall mast

 All about you, meantime
 The music of humanity,
    The dance of creation:
 Scored on the chart of the voyage. 

 The stories, legends, poems
 Will be woven to make your sail.
You may hear the beautiful tale of Magnus
    Who took salt on his lip.
Your good angel
    Will be with you on that shore.
 Soon the voyage of EMMA
    To Tir-Nan-Og and beyond.

 Star of the Sea, shine on her voyage. 


Like many, I've been so distracted by the terrible situation between Israel and Palestine. It's sometimes hard to think of continuing with normal everyday life when these things are happening in the world. As one friend said, it's another low point for humanity.

Perhaps I will end up drawing something later which may be my small act of normality in the midst of such craziness.

And while the sapling that was planted in place of the large felled sycamore had to be taken away by the National Trust, that was surely a well meaning act of hope.

I am reminded of the classic quote by Martin Luther:

'Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.'


I just sent out a newsletter today, which includes photos of a trip along the north coast, as well as a variety of other news. If you would like to receive these occasional updates, email me at, or subscribe at the top of the page.


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Oct 13, 2023

Beautiful image and poem Monique :)

I really hear you on what you're saying regarding a pulling away from forgetting the Israel crisis when trying to get on with life. It's been such a disturbing week of news... And the poor sycamore tree, that news was surprisingly jarring to hear about also. Hope is more important in these times so thank you for sharing encouraging words, images and poetry X Jenni

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