May 1st, 2017

A Legacy

Hippie, cut-throat capitalist, plutocrat, provocateur, publisher, drug fiend, whoremaster, poet, tree-hugger- that's a lot of personae to inhabit in a single lifetime. He also once boasted he'd personally killed a man- then took it back when the effects of whatever substance he had ingested began to fade...

Last night's Countryfile had a reporter reporting on Felix Dennis's Heart of England forest in Warwickshire. A million trees already planted, a million still to go, with most of Felix's enormous fortune invested in the continuance and perpetuation of the work. Felix himself reverted to mulch a couple of years back and lies in the shadow of a huge rock and a slightly larger than life-size statue of himself holding a sapling in a plant-pot. The inscription on the big stone characterises him as Poet, Publisher, Planter of Trees- thus reducing an extraordinary, exhausting life to what he wanted to think was its essence- three things beginning with the letter "P".

No-one gets to write their own epitaph, of course- not even Rameses the Great. The poems, I think, are good rather than great, the publications were ephemera and will be forgotten (with the likely exception of the schoolkids edition of OZ) but a forest of two million native broadleaf trees is going to take some ignoring.