trees speak to each other,
whispering pasts and presents our kind cannot comprehend.
These tales were woven as folklore, myth
keen minds have been at work
to research, ponder, analyse.
Their findings? Remarkable things.
If a tree is starved, its neighbours sense its desperation
and pass along nutrients to sustain it.
Their network of doing so is a curious one – fungus, they employ.
A phone line
of fungus which latches on to roots
and connects them to others.
a small percentage of sugar food must be paid.
Typical service charge.
Warnings can be given, too.
Of drought, pests, disease.
With the time
these messages bring, the collective
can change its behaviour.
Each sapling, each grandparent,
altering, slightly, to protect themselves.
In China, a bright green flower –
picked often for its herbal properties –
grew tired of the picking.
Plucked at again and again.
So it bloomed duller, then duller still,
until it matched its surroundings.
from eager hands.
Aerial footage, sped up
enough for us to discern the goings on,
shows a forest’s movement.
How each tree sways, branches linking
trunks leaning first this way, then that.
Not unlike brain activity,
synapses pulsing with signals,
leaves drifting between.
Watching this slow progression, I wonder
if Tolkien was on to something.
Maybe trees and other plants can talk, but,
the delivery of their words is not
for the impatient.
This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. Being autistic, nature is often my only place of solace, and I want to do all I can to protect it. As I’m not very comfortable around other people, most of the standard ways of helping out (volunteering, ‘traditional’ fundraisers etc.) were not a good fit for me, so I came up with #52weeksofnaturepoetry, where I have to post a nature poem here on this blog each week for an entire year without fail.
If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!