From the pen of Turlough Ó Maoláin ...

The Chronicles of Bulgaria

Copse and Robbers


No Bulgar children, women or men

Can recall the day exactly when

They first strode into forested lands

With an axe on a shoulder or a saw in a hand

And a cart on which there would be drawn

Cut logs to burn to keep them warm

And cook and maybe fill the bath

During a Balkan winter’s icy wrath.


Since time began they’d only fell

The trees they’d need, unless as well

Some toothless Baba, wretched and old,

Or raw boned Dyado paralysed by the cold

Would want a few sticks to keep them alive.

Taking only this, poor people survived

And woodlands regrew to how they’d been

In an annual eruption of verdant green.


Just a small pile of logs was all that was needed

To fire up the petchka but now superseded

By new-fangled machines with instant hot water

Pumped through the big houses to heat every quarter.

But modernity burned such vast mountains of wood

And hills became bare where great forests once stood.

The Ministry men said this had to be stopped

With restrictions in place on what trees could be chopped.


All of a sudden their fuel ceased to be free.

Obtainable by means of a stiff licence fee.

No problem for those who could afford central heating,

But disaster for poor folk shivering and beating

Back the harshness of winter with a meagre supply

Of wood for the stove and a fear they might die.

The control of the logging had left them bereft.

Knowing to keep themselves warm they must turn to theft.


As darkness envelopes a late autumn day

The backwoods’ near silence drowns in an array

Of calls from a fox or a boar or an owl

And sometimes a chainsaw’s menacing growl.

With children at home all with bellies to feed

They only fell the trees that they need.

With no money to buy what once was theirs

The copse has the answer to their wintry prayers.


Our local unspoilt beautiful forest as seen from over our unspoilt beautiful garden wall..

Our local unspoilt beautiful forest as seen from over our unspoilt beautiful garden wall.



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