Saturday, May 20, 2017

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,
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.

photo by

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

A poem from 2012, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come on over, for some good reading to accompany your morning coffee!


  1. The sap running like blood was such an ominous image... how little has changed since you wrote this poem..just recently we saw protests here against chopping trees for widening roads....

  2. I tremble with you at this wanton destruction.

  3. I know, we need the wood, for lumber and paper products, but there has to be, a better method of harvesting, that doesn't leave huge scars, upon Nature's beauty.

  4. You speak of sadness. But we want all that wood can create....

  5. We do need wood. But had we logged sustainably, rather than so wastefully clearcutting, there would be wood AND forests in perpetuity.

  6. Believe it or not, when it comes to forestry we are just as bad as any country... the trees cannot vote I guess and clearcutting is what industry prefer... wonder if it will change when we consume less paper.

  7. Maybe it will change with electronics running with gigantic steps...

  8. This is incredibly powerful, Sherry!

  9. You have really captured the pain of it all, Sherry. No one can escape a 'two - legged' with a saw!

  10. Just awful the cutting of these trees... painful to the soul...bkm

  11. Thank you, Sherry. Ever the voice for those who have none.


  12. Very moving and well written poem. Fear not. We Californians are doing our part.

  13. Powerful and well written.

  14. The personification is really powerful and the picture that you have chosen imparts a poignant synergy to this post. A very moving piece, Sherry. It truly gives one pause.

  15. Thank you for speaking loudly for those who silently give us so much. I hope we learn to live sustainably before its too late.

  16. If only every forest cut down was replaced by a similar forest to develop over the natural life over the species. However wanton slaughter not thinking of the future seems to be the norm. Luckily I won't be around when the oxygen runs out! Sadly that is the trouble as long term planning for our survival is less important than profit.

  17. Trees feel of that I am sure - you give her voice magnificently

  18. Hideous practices! And moving poem. There are indeed better ways; we need them to be implemented.

  19. A moving and beautiful poem. Trees feel....I believe. xo


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