Down with the trees #poetry #earthweal

Like a lung cancer victim
who knows his days are numbered
and continues to smoke twenty a day
so we cut them, with a keen and suicidal vigour
hoping to pulp them into money before
it loses all value
and the only currency we have
are those survival staples:
drinking water
grain and seed
the air we breathe.

The true carbon cost of all human activity
is measured in lungfuls of air:
spirometry test
the dying breaths
of a planet
stripped bare.

© All Rights Reserved.

Written for earthweal

This week, Brendan asks us to do the following:

For this week’s challenge, let’s spend some time and thought in our hearts with trees, for nurture, communication, grace and grief. You decide.

50 thoughts on “Down with the trees #poetry #earthweal

Add yours

  1. On a grammatical point, perhaps you can help me? Why is it maids in waiting but it’s lungfuls and spoonfuls. Shouldn’t it be spoons full? Or is it because lungfuls (etc) have become one word?

  2. Beautifully written and expressed, I think it’s the best poem you’ve written so far.It’s shocking, the amount of deforestation taking place; at this rate, we humans will one day be the true criminals of our own system of justice..

  3. I can’t imagine a world without trees. I’ve heard of several programs lately to plant more trees–increase the tree canopy in urban areas, for example. I love trees.

  4. We figure out another way to build without timber, the planet may be saved. I hear 3-D houses are pretty efficient though Lord knows how many years it takes to print one.

  5. Interestingly, I posted a quote by Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of “To Speak for the Trees”, in which she says “cutting down our source of oxygen is not only a suicidal act, but a homicidal one.” So I truly resonate with your poem. It boggles my mind how UNCONSCIOUS the vast majority of humanity is when it comes to our joint survival. A wonderful poem, Ingrid.

    1. I think we prefer to stick our heads in the sand. I watched a movie about some men who made a lot of money because they predicted the financial crash and bet against the housing market. Now one of the same men is predicting water shortages and placing his bets accordingly… not sure how I feel about profiting from catastrophe, but the catastrophe appears to be on the cards, whether we acknowledge it or not.

  6. Ha, my comment disappeared. Interestingly, I posted a quote from Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of “Speaking for the Trees”, saying “cutting down the source of our oxygen is not only a suicidal, but a homicidal act”. So I resonate completely with your poem. Well said, Ingrid.

    1. It must be because we use different platforms: it seems that WordPress only recognises you the second time you comment. I always receive the first, but it comes through as ‘anonymous’ and I have to approve it 😅

  7. It is such a shame that the last remaining California Redwoods are endangered by wildfires. Though no one is cutting them down, global warming is our doing.

    Ingrid, I appreciate your focus on the environment. This is a very meaningful poem! <3

  8. Oh, the irony. We have a dead elm at the bottom of the field. The ashes that replaced the elms after Dutch elm disease are now dying. The commercial larches at the bottom of the hill had to be taken down 2 years ago because of disease. The horse chestnuts are dying all around us – another disease. Even when we aren’t cutting them down we are still killing the trees through global warming and global trading – spreading disease through commercial timber. The landscape is going to look so different in 5 years time. If that. It’s a tragedy.

  9. seems like we’re eating our grain seed, though. what laments will arise, then, in the next planting season ? here in the american west, heat and fire and drought pace us into autumn. ~

  10. This is very powerful Ingrid. I had to go to a magical place, that may now exist only in my heart, given the devastating forest fires in recent years in Oregon. My health foes not permit mr to go check, and at this point in my life, I don’t want to go, for fear it has been violated by continuing human stupidity. But it exists vividly in my heart and mind, and there I go many times with my dear departed son Aaron. It was our favorite place, and it existed like a piece of heaven — and so it will always, as eill my Aaron, until I am dead and cremated.

  11. Came back to this a number of times, Ingrid. A powerful poem, spare and direct in its language. I worked for a company that supplied pollution control systems for pulp mills and for a while I travelled all over the southern states doing start up and troubleshooting. Even got to Brazil, where the growth rate is fast and there are vast tree plantations supplying the mills. Anyone it’s a big subject and not enough room here… but maybe I’ll put something together. Thanks for the poem!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: