Thursday, June 14, 2012

We Are

Grief older than the sea
Rawer than the cliff-face
Rips at the tops of the grove

We are giants, we are holy
Trembling is not in our nature
But our roots are being shaken

There is death colouring the sky
Slashing through the pines
And the taste of it is bitterness

Smell the sulphur as the lightning
Strikes,  splits an elder to the ground
The thunder booms triumphant

And we know the game is on - but
We bend together, try for grouping
Try for strengthening - stand as one

It is cyclical we know and can tell
This through the rings that count
Our age - but we also know the time

And feel it to the marrow of our wood
When the sky grows copper bright
And then is limned with lightning too

We whisper urgently as we huddle
Ever closer listening as the storm
Begins to take apart our lower limbs

It sounds like hunting season as shots
Are ringing out - each time a branch
Breaks off and one of us comes closer

To dying while the storm goes raging on
The storm goes raging on bringing death
With every crash, every flash, every sound

And all we can do in our terror, in our fear
Is stand bravely, and hold to our truth
We are older than the wind, we are ancient

We have outlived such chaos before
We must trust we will outlive this
As some of us fly apart in the fierceness

Of the end of days, the rest carry on
It is our destiny, our fate and we embrace it
We are the ones, we will stand tall, we are.



  1. This moves me, Sharon, even more so with the elephant background of your blog. Beautiful poem. I love the affirmation of your final line.

  2. Great metaphors and alliteration

  3. Trembling is not in our nature
    But our roots are being shaken

    This sets the tenor, I think. Fine poem.

  4. oh very nice....the sulphur air after the lightening....feeling it in our wood...and it ends in a nice crescendo to stand regardless...smiles...

  5. Powerful, Sharon... I just love it.

  6. First of all - well, I love elephants.

    Now to the poem- I was especially struck by storm as hunter, the sounds like gunshot in the air as the trees crack. That was incredibly striking. K.

  7. I read this through several times. Powerfully written and I believe here you let the form carry the narrative of the poem. This is done effectively through repetition, alliteration, beat and movement. The form disappears completely as one becomes a part of the subject. It has a mythic quality. Well done.

  8. I enjoyed this, and you seem to have used the form wonderfully. I sense an underlying meaning in the story; perhaps it's not about elephants at all?

  9. "We are older than the wind"

    Makes grief even sadder. To know "we" have lived through it before but, voiced out of the central action of the storm as if a prayer to stay standing--huddling, bending, but rooted.

    I join their prayer.

  10. A powerful image of the grief stricken tree as it is being broken apart ~ i specially like the opening stanza ~ Very well done ~

  11. This is extremely powerful in the way it sets the scene within the mind of these ancient minds. You have really put us into their minds and it makes a sad, terrifying journey.

  12. I felt quite sad, for the elephants or anyone who feels this fear from man. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live with such fear but you've given me a glimpse, and well...I didn't want to but you certainly took me there! Very evocative write!

  13. Agh - another place I didn't return to reply to comments before I left for Italy - I apologize. That being said, I do appreciate what everyone has said about this poem and this site for that matter - I too love elephants and this wrinkly guy is a grand specimen, lucky for me Blogger has him in their template collection - the poem is about trees but could just as easily be about any long-lived threatened species I suppose ... especially anything threatened by man ... thanks again for the feedback; I do enjoy and treasure it.


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