The trees are falling,
falling down along the avenue
flanked by the law, the arts
and the house of the intellectuals.
Helpless we watch the machines hum as a piece
of history is cut down to the ground.
Fallen sentinels of the past struck
down by the follies of the present that no
one dares oppose while
beauty is destroyed and the earth torn
apart. Green gives way to concrete.
Planted by an ancient they spread themselves far
and wide. Up above, the branches swelled
to cover the skies. A canopy
of green for the people to walk
through. Hugging the earth below them
stretching their roots to take hold of their home.
“Old roots,” the men sniffed in disdain, “old
roots decay and bring danger to
all,” they claimed. The machines marched in,
the people protested, banners in hand to no avail.
The birds added their songs of alarm
beseeching, beseeching for the trees to stay,
homeland in the skies tumbling to dust.
Their high-rises groaned in anguish as the machines cut
them down. Tears in the skies stopped,
stunned at the affront. Darkness
wasteland they will raise. Twinned with the desert
what more can you hope?
© 2012 Shirani Rajapakse
Photograph courtesy Stand Up for Colombo’s Trees on Facebook. For more information visit http://www.facebook.com/groups/116812511815589/?fref=ts