I don’t go into the woods today
where I once passed so many happy hours;
don’t deign to skip through forest glades
pausing to whisper love to trees and flowers.
I don’t walk under the avenue
of sturdy sycamores behind my home
instead I listen nervously
as in the constant gales, they creak and groan
The trees still standing have reached breaking point
barrel-blasted by these manmade winds
they shake in root and leaf, in branch and joint
making us shun the last hope of mankind
We, like the trees, have now reached tipping point
we cannot breathe without them, even so
we cut them down, whereas we should appoint
guardians to protect, and hope to help them grow.
© 2022 experimentsinfiction.com. All Rights Reserved.
Written for earthweal
This week, Sherry challenges us to ‘speak for the trees, for the old-growth, for the beyond-human beings who live in the forest. Or speak as the trees, saying what you think they would like to be able to tell us.’
I had intended this as a nightmare vision of the future, but as I read through and edited this poem, I realised I am describing the situation as it is now. Neighbours complain that the trees are a threat to their homes. Many a night the oldest trees creak and groan in howling gales. I am afraid to walk in the woods after a storm. So we have a feedback loop, where the consequences of so much tree felling lead us to cut down what’s left for ‘safety’ reasons. It is a dire, urgent and current situation. I dedicate this poem to the guardians who put their lives and liberty on the line to protect our trees. Please read Sherry’s post to find out more about them.
This could be read as a companion piece to Bear Witness, written at the close of 2021.