Poem in response to Life On Land
By Caroline Sun
The woods are alive.
Saccharine song drips like honey from the trees,
interspersed with the gentle
pattering of small feet through verdant growth;
the whispering laughter of the trees comes with the wind,
as swaying branches lean
towards each other, leaves fluttering like the wings of a moth.
At first, the people came to admire.
Coupled together, they walked beneath the fire-red canopy, laughing softly
at the squirrels and sparrows and butterflies.
Then came the men
wearing orange, reeking of artifice,
bringing with them slashes of steel and decay.
They were not here to admire.
The birds were the first to go.
As one, they lifted into the mountain-chilled air, shrill cries echoing
across the tops of the trees;
then went the four-legged creatures,
foxes, badgers, deer
predator and prey alike fleeing their home.
In the end, nothing was left.
The woods are silent.
There are no saccharine chirps, no warbled trills;
no gentle pattering of small feet, no rustle in the undergrowth.
The trees no longer lean
towards each other, whispering, co-conspirators;
instead their inch-tall stumps litter
the forest floor, stretching in vain for a piece of the faraway sky
only to be covered, encased, in a tomb of cement.