By Daniela Gioseffi
“The trees are dying. Yes. It’s true.” the forester sighed.
“Sugar maples are disappearing. Too
many chemicals! Trees sunlit. Trees moonlit. Trees wet
with rain, covered in snow are dying like us. The last
view for everyone, should be of trees. Trees are all
to us. Bartlett pear trees, pyrus with their sweet golden
fruit dropping from glossy green branches, fingery
leaves with fringes folded inward like arms
on a dying breast. Apple trees in orchards
on the horizon! Hazelnut, hickory, poplar, rock oak,
blue spruce, juniper, red cedar, yewberry, ashbery,
red oak and white oak, red pine an grey pine,
rare elms and douglas furs, redwoods cut for timber,
phenomenal ancient Sequoia Gigantia felled
for picnic tables and chairs. Rainforests murdered
for grazing meat!” She looked out the window
from her bed. «A 30 percent decline and a loss
of nearly half of new trees over the past
forty years. Synthetic chemicals begin to appear
in their rings at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution—
poisons traced to the Ohio River Valley, airborne
to the Northeastern forests….”
She murmurs as she slips into her forever sleep:
“Seeds of the endangered white bark pine of the Rockies,
staple of bears, red squirrels, song birds are disappearing.
Evergreen aromatic hemlocks are falling to a blight,
wooly adelgid and fiorinia scale, which also invites
infestation by spider mites. Eastern Hemlocks go
the way of the American Elm from its disease,
and the American Chesnuts before them perished so.
The trees are going to entropy, acid rain, chemicals
P.C.B.s, pesticides.” She cries as she dies.
“The trees are all that comfort me.
They hold all the answers unspoken in their branches.
Trees make time visible and fragrant. They breathe
with us. They are our breath as we breathe out
we are their life. As they live we breathe with them
in atmospheric balance and live by their photosynthesis
and our greed for things is killing them. The trees
hold all the answers unspoken in their branches.
We enter the grove and are changed, peace rains
down in green over us. Green that holds mountains
together with roots, green that scatters lacey shade
over us, spins out our breath in freshened sips.
We drink the rain with them. Beware, the trees
are dying with us. Every sapling rises up to breathe
with every child in its rightful place under the sun.
Set me free into the arms of my Weeping Beech Tree!”
Daniela Gioseffi is an American Book Award winning author of 16 books of poetry and prose. Her first book of poems, Eggs in the Lake (Boa Editions, Ltd., 1979) contained work that won a New York State Council for the Arts grant award. Women on War: International Writings from Antiquity to the Present, (The Feminist Press, 2003) and On Prejudice: A Global Perspective (Anchor/ Doubleday, 1993) won award grants from The Ploughshares Foundation for Peace and were presented at the United Nations. Her latest book of new and selected poems, in bilingual edition, is Blood Autumn (Autunno di sangue). She’s presented her work throughout Europe and the USA on NPR and the BBC. Daniela Gioseffi edits Eco-Poetry.org and appears on «The Poet and the Poem:» Library of Congress Radio Show Podcast, sponsored by the U.S National Endowment for the Arts Listen to Audio Podcast.
Thank you for the new poem, Daniela Gioseffi!