THRENODY H.C. Klingman
I am the primal arboreal spirit, the guardian of woodlands gone, mourner of vanished realms of Universal creation. I am the death throes of the fallen, the moan of branch and the grief of rotting bark. But I am also the resurrection that lifts seedlings in stubborn renewal to an uncertain future. And, I am the leafy miracle that transubstantiates air, the holy breath of earthly life. Listen to my lament!
From the stunted pines of Patagonia, to the land of the Redwood, in tundra or savannah, I am there. I am there in dwarfed Bonzais or rotund Baobabs. I know the lonely survivors of windblown shores and peerless giants whose spires soar in the rainforest, and I live in the grace of palms in sandy places. I am the protector of their living essence, the birthright of their nature. I know them all.
I was there before you felled sturdy oaks to timber Albion’s ships of conquest, and I am still in the bones of Phoenician cedars, the shrunken copse once forest, sacrificed for temples and palaces of vain potentates. In haunted graveyards of slain Sequoias, empty groves of mahogany and teak, ghostly stumps of ebony or cypress, all denied the right of natural presence, I am there too.
To the ring of the axe, our corpses became your milestones: fenceposts of stolen lands, utility poles, trestles, and ties that spanned the globe. We were even in the machines of execution, your cross and gallows. Our sacrifice gave fire to your hearth, fruits to your table, joy to your children, and we were home to creatures of earth and sky, for birds to nest, a place for your dogs to mark or cats to climb. All these, still in nature’s balance, we gave.
With roaring chainsaws you became deaf, a plunderer, razing Amazon’s green lung, or clear-cutting mountainsides of virgin timber, living growth that was there, in the Garden, before Adam. You still defile our sylvan beauty with a scorn that plagues our planet. Daily, my forests are pulped to print news, or the ads, seen once then carted to landfills. Corporations lumber without restraint for the objects of your desire, gouging livid wounds that never heal.
I gave you nature’s quota, but you took more. You ate from the Tree of Knowledge but did not become wise, and your Tree of Life became unfruitful when you worshipped The Money Tree, a corrupt growth, grafted on roots of avarice.
Do we not bleed when we are cut, do we not Live just as you, within our own cosmic destiny? In the mournful music of the age can you not hear our prayer? Listen! Let it lead you to simple wisdom, taking only what nature can replace, protecting all the rest, from quaking Aspen to the proud Douglas Fir. And it will repay the debt you owe since you joined us here on earth.
For extinction is eternal Hell, and yours would come just after ours.