“The tree wished

that it might be reborn

as a book of poems

and so it was”

Michael Shepard – The Poet Tree

As the air becomes crisp and reddened autumn leaves crunch underfoot, what better way to appreciate the turn of the season than cosying up with Treelines, a thoughtful collection of poems.

Trees are all around us, taken for granted, marking the seasons, and forming the backdrop to our daily lives. Who hasn’t got a favourite tree? Or planted a tree? Climbed a tree? Sat in the shade of a tree? Who hasn’t walked happily through a wood?

The quiet grace of trees and the significance they can have on our lives is encapsulated fabulously in this book. Beautifully illustrated and printed on a satisfyingly thick paper by Oxford’s Holywell Press, it is a treasure to leaf through. From Janie Hextall, one of the organisers at the Oxfordshire Museum who counts blossom as one of the most joyous things in her life, and orchard tender Barbara McNaught, who has shelves of books about trees and rushes outside every time she hears a chainsaw, comes this diverse and sentimental selection of work.

Here are poems about trees, woods and orchards that reflect that wonder, which they want to share.

Treelines follows the success of three previous collections from the pair, their most recent Washing Lines lauded by Sebastian Shakespeare of Tatler as “The most original and entertaining poetry anthology of the year” and by the Oxford Times’ Maggie Hartford as “satisfying as a clean basket of laundry”.

This latest collection does not disappoint. With entries ranging from the whimsical to the woeful, it reads like a stroll through the park.

Distinct in their time periods, some of the works in Treelines date back to the late 18th century including an excerpt from Charlotte Bronte’s From the Wood and work by John Clare famed for his celebration of the English countryside. Also included is more modern work from poets like Carol Anne Duffy and Jim Carruth, one of the poets showcased in Oxford Poets 2010.

As eclectic as this collection is, harmony between nature and humanity is a running motif throughout. At a time when around 18.7 million acres of trees are lost annually due to deforestation, the poetry in this anthology urges the reader to appreciate the subtle interaction between people and trees.

Wendell Berry writes: “It is the Earth I’ve come to, the earth itself, sadly abused by the stupidity only humans are capable of but, as ever, itself. Free. a bargain! Get it while it lasts.”

Treelines: A Collection of Poems selected by Janie Hextall and Barbara McNaught, published by Lautus Press on October 31, £10