By Cathrine Grøndahl (translated from Norwegian by Roger Greenwald)
Can trees file suit? Trees can’t file anywhere
Nature encloses them in laws, which others are the keepers of
It’s like talking to a wall
If the walls had ears. Lay your ear against the wall and listen:
The cry in the forest, the rain for days on end, the tree that keeps falling
One day a door may open in the law, and in goes a whole forest
and raises hill after hill of cases. Listen:
We indict all nation states. We stand in the tragedy of the commons
and you don’t notice. The poisons take effect everywhere
The nations dole them out in quotas to the whole world. They always land
here, and you don’t detect it. We’re losing our breath in the Amazon,
leaf by leaf, overdosing in the Black Forest, and in Pasvik we’re dying
of the nickel we’re drinking from the Kola Peninsula
We are the cry in the forest, the rain for days on end, the tree that keeps
falling. Lie down under a tree. Look:
* Based on “Should Trees Have Standing” (1972), by Christopher Stone, a key article in environmental law.
Forfatternesklimaaksjon.no has for a while collaborated with Free Word and Weather Stations. Now we are about to enlarge our partnership between FW and NWCC. In the weeks to come we will present translations of five Norwegian poems from our homepage at Free Words website under the banner «On the Road to Paris». You can read more about the collaboration between Free Word and NWCC here. Cathrine Grøndahls poem Can Trees File Suit? opens this little series. The poem is translated by Roger Greenwald.
Cathrine Grøndahl (born 4 May 1969) is a Norwegian poet. She made her literary début in 1993 with the poetry collection Riv ruskende rytmer, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ debutantpris. Among her other poetry collections are I klem mellom natt og dag from 1996, Det har ingenting med kjærlighet å gjøre from 1998, and Lovsang from 2003.