Friday, November 9, 2012

The Standing People, Before They Fall



I wake early. 
Mist is rising off the lake.
Rain taps lightly along my branches,
and down,
hitting  mushroom and salal,
fiddlehead and fern,
as we gratefully drink
after long, dry summer's heat.

The earth is shaking.
I tremble.
The big-wheeled trucks move in.
Doors slam.
Men yell and laugh,
then head off,
each in his own direction.

There it is! The screaming roar
of the big saws,
the ominous rumbling
of the grapple-yarders,
the sudden crack! as my sisters fall,
roots pointing towards heaven,
beseeching
an end to the slaughter,
sap running like blood
down into the ground.

I dig my roots deep 
into Mother Earth.

I will hold on tight
for as long as I can.
But, no! Here he comes,
a Two-Legged,
with his fearsome saw.

* First Nations often refer to the trees as Standing People, in their stories and legends.

Hannah has given us one of her wonderful challenges, for Transforming Fridays at Real Toads: 
to write from a nonhuman point of view, as a denizen of the temperate forest. I chose the temperate rainforest, since it surrounds me:) 

I love these geographic challenges, as we get to explore other realities.
So enlightening. 

Do pop over and explore some of the links. Hannah's challenges always produce some interesting writing.

30 comments:

  1. Beautifully written, my friend. Reminds me of one I wrote as we traveled together. http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/thirteen-ways-of-looking-at-trees/
    We are definitely Sisters to Trees

    Elizabeth
    http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/

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  2. I like this...trees as standing people ~ I don't mind that we clear a bit of the land, but we have to be mindful of doing it to the extreme that we displace animals and others who depend on forests and trees for survival ~

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  3. This makes me feel sad. I don't think they should be allowed to cut old growth forests. I grew up thinking trees were beings too.

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  4. Your personification of the trees as 'standing people' makes your message all the more powerful. Nothing hurts me more than the sight of a tree being cut down, even in someone's backyard.

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  5. Oh gosh.....I read this and wanted to throw myself in front of the two legged with his saw.

    Well written, I'd say!

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  6. They clear so much for man to build on, for man, what of needing the forests for the air we all breathe or, will they manufacture that for us too....Like you Sherry, I could weep for their loss and all of the wildlife that keeps being lost because they don't have a habitat to live in anymore.
    Brilliant poem.

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  7. roots pointing towards heaven,
    beseeching

    chilling! I know we need to harvest trees, but the clear cutting that was done (still?) was (is?) atrocious.

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  8. Wow, Nicely done poem. Very interesting. I think I'm going to read this again and again. I appreciated it a lot.

    House and Land Packages Perth

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  9. It's a real pity that greed had forsaken the goodness of nature. Of greater concern is the danger of an enhanced danger relating to global warming. Nicely Sherry!

    Hank

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  10. I love it when you call upon the language of our First Nations brothers and sisters, Sherry. Their knowledge of trees as individuals and as forests goes far beyond our understanding.
    K

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  11. Oh!! Sherry...you've given this tree this rain-forest of standing sisters a voice. Wow!! SO poignant and affecting.

    This really got me:

    " as my sisters fall,
    roots pointing towards heaven,
    beseeching
    an end to the slaughter,
    sap running like blood
    down into the ground.

    I dig my roots deep
    into Mother Earth."

    SO good!

    My heart hurts for them.

    Like Kerry I'm pained to see them cut...there have been quite a few in my part lately...I always wonder why...especially of the ones that are so seemingly healthy and when there's no news of any tree diseases going around...

    Thank you so much, Sherry for transforming this Friday!! ♥

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  12. Thank you for introducing me to the standing people!




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  13. I feel a great affinity for the grand old trees that surround me. You captured the tree's predicament so well.

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  14. Sherry, we were just hiking and communing with redwoods in Northern California. The majesty - and thanks to the foresight of Americans like Teddy Roosevelt, many of these areas are protected.

    It's said that in Thailand, many old-growth trees where being cut down, so the Buddhist monks declared them SAINTS, conferring sanctified personhood upon them, protecting many trees.

    LOVED this. Love, Amy

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  15. PS You are a good influence on me. I did go over and answer that prompt, albeit in "my own way." Such a little rebel...! Love, A
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/11/09/the-sweetest-presence/

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  16. "The Standing People" caught my eye from the blogroll and I clicked. This is sad. I have a thing for trees. But most beautiful. The trees thank you for being their voice. Starting to show my colors. I'm a "dumb-ass tree hugger."

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  17. You have given a voice to the silent and helped put us, the humans in perspective of the tree.

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  18. Yes, trees are standing people. At least those that have ecaped the cruel ringing buzz from the uncaring mechanical extension. This mechanical deamon eliminates the First Nation's ritual prayer of forgiveness when they take away the life of any 'being', trees, animals, etc., even for the choice of human existence/survival.

    Wonderful piece, mi amiga.

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  19. What a moving poem, Sherry. I hate to see the 'standing people' cut down as well.

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  20. Totally reminds me of Dana Lyons' song The Tree, which I've started playing for people and then stopped because it made them cry. You can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szUEvjUPZP4

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  21. So beautiful...you personified the trees so we humans could understand their pain. I am always blessed when reading your work!!

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  22. I love the personification of the trees, how sad they are destroyed without a thought by many. Lovely!

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  23. You always see the earth from the earth's perspective, Sherry, and not the humans' and I think that is a rare gift. I wish more of us had it, that empathy with the web of life and *everything* in it, however many legs it has, or in this case, doesn't have.

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  24. Tree as hero, man as villain, lovely write!!!

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  25. Oh, my goodness...harrowing. I can just imagine that the Standing People feel this fear as the Two-Legged ones approach with their fearsome saws. I'm afraid they seem to be losing this battle although there are many Two-Legged who fight hard to preserve them.

    Love this story, Sherry.

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  26. Oh I could feel the terror and what a nightmare, digging in knowing a man is going to saw you down... a very moving poem.

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  27. Why am I not surprised that you speak for the trees (as well as the wolves)? Your voice rings so authentically for all of nature Sherry, are you sure you're not part shaman? This is wonderful ...

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  28. Why am I not surprised that you speak for the trees (as well as the wolves)? Your voice rings so authentically for all of nature Sherry, are you sure you're not part shaman? This is wonderful ...

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  29. As if I were a treee, I feel my feet hold the ground and my spine lengthen, moved to hold on, to never let go. Strong rhythm intensifies the effect.

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  30. This poem is so effective because of the reference to trees as standing people. It really drives the point home, vividly. I, too, can't bear to see trees cut down (unless they present a danger to humans, as in the recent storm we experienced in NY, NJ, and unfortunately some trees had to be trimmed as they fell onto houses). Great poem!

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