a tree poem a day

Posted by Daniela Elza on Sep 26 2021

For the 30 days of September, I have been sending a tree poem a day, written by different poets, It is addressed to the Premier, Prime Minister, select ministers, MLAs and party leaders and ask for policy to protect our ancient forest ecosystems. Here is the letter I sent with my poem below. Each author that submitted a poem helps write the blurb that introduces their poem.

Dear Premier Horgan, Prime Minister Trudeau, Ministers, MPs, current and future MLAs,

It will take extraordinary vision and concerted effort on many fronts to combat the climate crisis. But fighting the ancient-forests defenders and protectors is not one of them. 

The injunction at Fairy Creek is in court, while the ancient-tree massacre continues. While we wait for the judge’s decision, the polls painted a picture of a Canada that wants you to work across your divisions, a Canada that needs you to think bigger and bolder. Our elections are not a popularity contest. Please commit to more than words. Stop the ancient forest logging, protect the people who are peacefully protecting the ancient ecosystems at Fairy Creek against police violence and violations. Stop policing our right to clean air, diverse ecology, and our chances for survival.

In a recent Globe and Mail article Grand Chief Phillip said, “You can’t simply parcel this off as an Indigenous cultural rights issue. You can’t parcel it off as an economic issue. You must remain focused on the fact that old growth forests in British Columbia are at the point of extinction. We all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to protect them.” While we are waiting for government policy, adults and youth are putting their bodies and lives on the line. 

I am a writer and educator who spent the last pandemic year writing poems to trees with my students. Many have not seen these ancient giants. Many do not know the names of trees. They have questions I can not answer. Our policies do not make sense for the bold action we need to take today to preserve our life support ecosystems. I have to ask: WHY? 

Studies repeatedly reaffirm that “Trees are the most efficient air conditioner we’ve got”. In our urban environments this has become particularly hazardous and urgent in the recent heat waves. In other words, stop cutting down our most efficient cooling systems on the planet. 

I am sending you a tree-poem-a-day this month to inspire you to implement policies that will protect our Fairy Creeks, our ancient forests, our home, our children, and their future. 

Instead of spending so many millions of our tax money on policing for corporations, put these efforts and funds into a vision we can all gather around. Work across parties, across provinces, and across borders. The planet knows no boundaries, or political divides. This inaction will cost us a lot more down the road, as the pandemic has shown. 

Just like the housing crisis (enabled by policy) is manufacturing homelessness at unprecedented rates, destroying our ecologies is rendering many species homeless and extinct. 

To destroy what is irreplaceable is to steal from the future. 

DAY 15 – Today’s poem is one of mine. I’m sending it on my birthday. I wrote it after a friend took me to Cypress Falls on a different birthday. I had not been out for so long, I teared up just smelling the wet earth and listening to the river. It was a stunning reminder how much we need these trees to be part of our world for the sake of survival ultimately, and daily for the sake of mental health and our sanity. 

May the poems each day give you inspiration, and courage, to protect the natural wealth we are abusing and losing.

Kind Regards, 
Daniela Elza 

cypress falls

by daniela elza 

the river rushes through the canyon—

                           a sound to the right of prayer.

rock formations—

                two salmon side by side

                                          on the water’s edge.

we follow a trail of warnings.                we are


                                into this solitude.

trees so tall

                only a forest of roots can hold them.

and those that fell

                                             did not fall easy—

still clutch rocks         plucked from earth

                                 in towering upturned roots.

architecture     committed       to straight spines.

           cedar spires twisting up into the light.

hollowed out arches.

                    a filigree of roots binding earth. 

                         and the delicate call of birds

draws tears from this

                                                     urban clump

                                                  I have become.

the soft animal body of a fallen tree

                                           bristles with moss

glistens in a rare afternoon sunbeam 

grazing the forest floor.

we drink the air         and are dizzy.

we listen to the river                and grow dumb.

                     we stand still         and are stilled.

                                stand as if we belong here.

balancing souls between cedars and pines.

This poem previously appeared in Heartwood: Poems for the love of trees (June, 2018).

Thank you to Creatively United Community for posting the it on their blog as well.

A couple of interesting articles and analysis I have read recently:

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