An encounter with a wishing tree

Earlier this year, on a post about images of trees, I alluded to a poem by Kathleen Jamie “The wishing tree”. The poem is a description of a lonely tree, standing on the border between parishes, into which many a passing stranger has pressed a coin in the hopes of having a wish granted. The poem, which you can read in full here, is full of evocative phrases such as “the common currency of hope” and “choking on small change”. Until I read the poem I had never heard of a wishing tree, and until this week I had never seen one.

I encountered this one on my visit to Portmeirion. Up in the woods outside the pretty faux village is a tree stump, with aged and battered coins sprouting all over it like a fungus. I found there to be something unbearably sad about the sight. Like the statue of the patron saint of lost causes, all but buried under the wax of hundreds of hopeful candles I had seen years before in Belgium -it represents a human ache of longing. This is odd, since I have never felt the same seeing coins tossed into a fountain for luck. I wonder why?

Have a look at the photo and let me know what you think.

click for full-size image

Advertisements