THE felling of the famous Sycamore Gap tree was a shocking and disheartening act.

Readers have all been processing it in different ways, but a fair few have taken to jotting their thoughts and responses down in the form of poems.

Here is a round-up of some poems our readers have sent in to us after hearing the sad news that the tree - which had stood for hundreds of years and symbolised something special to so many people - had been cut down in the early hours of Thursday, September 29.


As dawn crept through a Libran morn,
over babbling brooks and burns.
It was met with shock and horror
as the dreadful truth was learned.
Where she dwelled she now lay felled
a cruel blow to one and all.
No more she'd cast a wondrous spell
Where she stood proud and tall.
That constant nod back to our past,
down where the land dips low.
Beside the wall they built to last,
Such a long long time ago.
How we'd marvel at her silhouette,
against that low north sky.
A place where gaze and wonder met
To enthrall each passer by
There's now a gap where joy did bask
out on those windy moors.
Etched deep within our memory banks
dwells her mystical allure.
In time we hope that well shall see
one that's just like her grow.
Beside the wall the Romans built,
such a long long time ago.

Jimmy Bridgewood

You can hew the tree down

You can hew the tree down,
but that’s not our heart.
There’s another gap in the Wall tonight
and it’s a gaping hole in an ancient jaw, with plenty holes already.
There’s been a felling of a bark 300 years in the making
and it doesn’t fit into words or make sense to those unseeing.
It’s a colder wind that blows through the gap tonight
while old Mithras sleeps, cold haunts weep, there’s no song to sing.
And you can hew the tree down,
but that’s not our heart.
And you can hew the tree down,
but that’s not our heart.
As the world moves on, and the tourists mourn for a moment
it’s another case of this land turning, a history of slow burning
and another loss on the frontier.
For they’ve felled the trees, as they felled the mines, one by one
as the wheels stopped spinning and the bairns lost their songs, one by one
and another loss on the frontier.
And the ships have sailed and the yards have gone
as the tide has turned and new life floods past Shields
but it demands another loss on the frontier.
And you can hew the tree down,
but that’s not our heart.
And you can hew the tree down,
but that’s not our heart.
For it’s not just in a tree, for trees have always fallen
And it’s not just in a mine, where dignity has been hewed;
It’s not just in a shipyard, in bloodied rivets,
or feudal divots of turf, debated long
that our common root lies
But in the sea and the soil and the frontiers of our belonging
and the call of the curlew, half-forgotten;
our rugged Whin Sill of story and learning and hefting and hewing
will always summon a new shoot to rise in this debateable land.
For you can hew the tree down,
but that’s not our heart.

P. S. Burn
Michaelmas 2023

Ode to a Sycamore tree

The birds sing their morning song
Wind dances through the leaves
Almost just as it once was
Yet Northumberland is bereaved.
Deprived violently by force
From the ancient wall where she stood
A stoic soldier of the seasons
Centuries etched in sycamore wood.

Yet after enduring the brutal elements
Northumberland’s sentinel of time
Reaved from her birthplace forever
An act of senseless, human crime.
So after centuries spent protecting Northumberland from the wall
A national treasure, forever lost
A crime with no justice at all.
So let the birds sing their morning song,
Let the wind dance through what’s left
Never again as it once was
Northumberland is bereft.

By Laura Charlton