Gyroscope Review 15-1 - Page 14

The Hurt Beech: September 2014
 by James Graham
 
 Last Sunday, as I stood
 where my father’s name is cut into a stone
 I remembered the tree. The beech behind our house.
 One day I cut my name into its bark. The same day my father hauled me out,
 stood me in front of it, clenched my shoulders,
 made me look him in the eye, and said: ‘The Devil makes work for idle hands’. Then, fiercely:
 ‘It’s a sin to deface a tree. A sin. Don’t ever
 do that again, for I’ll leather you’. I followed that thought to the old house
 and stood before the tree. The name
 was fuzzy with long healing, but still legible. What a fuss he made. Look, father, it’s still here!
 I was naughty, but I didn’t kill it! Perhaps it was
 a way of saying I want to make my mark,
 achieve, b