Decision tree


in Frost’s wood two paths diverge
— life/regret as
Bayesian algorithm.

here the blackberry
laterals like a wrestler’s bicep
lifting a tonne of bramble,
a field of bloom, bees
round every fruit a ring of hooks.

once a fence, subsumed
like a whale gone below.

Image: Honey bee construction when beekeeper forgets to insert frames. A quadrille for Dverse where Linda is hosting and asks us to use the word ‘bramble’. And here’s my favourite bramble poem – Meditation at Lagunitas by Robert Hass.

…Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.

And for your listening pleasure (and for everyone who loves the series – and felt a little better for its good heart) here’s Johnny Flynn with the Theme from The Detectorists – hope you like it.


21 thoughts on “Decision tree

  1. Every bit of this post is enjoyable. The freeform beehive, where the bees got to choose its form, is a little scary and makes bees almost seem like alien life forms (maybe I’ve seen too many sci-fi movies?)

    I had to look up Bayesian algorithm. I see it as being connected to Gestalt but may be way off on that?

    The line in the Hass poem: “a word is elegy to what it signifies.” I notice he uses both “this” and “that” earlier, but the elegy is “the other thing.”

    The song brought instant tears. Haven’t heard of Detectorists but may need to do some research on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this – Bayesian is a form of decision making and risk assessment – measuring the tradeoff between going down one path (eg. the one less travelled) or the other. Bees – apparently this is a brilliant design for air circulation (though agree there’s an alien intelligence at work). Yes Detectorists is def. worth your consideration – if you’ve ever been curious about odd hopeless English men.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m not sure there is a more perfect piece of television than the Detectorists – it’s a gentle exploration of male friendship through a pair of socially awkward metal detectorists. It’s simply beautiful.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Firstly, Peter, thank you for the song, I love it and the reminder of ‘The Detectorists’, such a simple premise and a magical, enjoyable programme – I have series one and two on DVD. Now to your poem… I love how it starts in Frost’s poem and ends with a subsumed fence – especially the simile. But the Bayes algorithm went right over my head!


    1. Thanks Kim, (I was trying to be too smart i think). The Bayes model is a way of trading off between two unknowns (like the two paths in Frost’s yellow wood). i think i was trying to say that sometimes life isn’t a simple binary choice – mostly its a tangle with everything overgrown and full of blooms and hooks… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I assume the fence was subsumed. Who knew? Detectorists…a novelty I will have to explore, although I painfully admit when I watch British television, I sometimes need subtitles! If the show is anything like the theme song, it must be a joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A most stunning allude to Frost! 💝 I love; “here the blackberry laterals like a wrestler’s bicep lifting a tonne of bramble..” Kudos! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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