My poem titled “Borders are in Season” won second prize at the 2019 Westminster Art Festival in Portage, MI. Read it here: https://www.westminsterartfestival.org/2019-poetry.
What Must the Trees Think?
Anger that we lumber their siblings?
Terror when the ground we frack?
Pity that we have brought ourselves to the brink?
Befuddlement at our human quibbling?
Despair that they can’t fight back?
The willow, bent in mourning,
weeps for her children
and the aspen quakes,
whether from fear or rage.
I do not know.
Having dreamt of brilliant sun
and gentle rain, will the trees wake
from their deep winter slumber
surprised at what has become?
Or do they know, from the frog boiling
of the earth, what we have done?
The revered oak, Mayflower witness,
attests to the best and worst
we have to offer this earth.
How disappointed it must be
should it even deign to notice
our self-serving exertions.
To the Great Sequoia who
watches five generations of oak
come and go we must be nothing
more than malaria filled mosquitos.
The Bristlecone Pine birthed high
upon mountain before the first stone
of the first Egyptian pyramid was laid
looks daily into the face of God.
It most likely cares not one whit
I can almost hear, on a quiet day,
the trees wheeze and cough,
choking on our smog,
whimpering at the ill taste
of pesticide cocktails
as they suck at the ground,
a child with straw searching
for the last bit of nourishment
in the bottom of a glass.
©2017 Kenneth W. Arthur