Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

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Trees of Life

in Environment by

Al Hajar Mountains northern Oman
Arabian Desert’s eastern edge
fractal landscape thrust from the sea
sixty-five million years ago

roots of
umbrella-thorn tree
anchored to the bare rock
descend more than
one hundred feet
to reach groundwater

Determination to survive
drives massive reforestation projects
coastal desalination plants
on boulevards, highways
medians lush as golf greens
farms, orchards, date-palm plantations
projects funded by the Green sultan
to defeat the twenty million square miles
of advancing desert world-wide

an acre of trees can pull down
two to three tons of carbon
bulwark against the nine billion tons
put in the air every year by human industry

Kenya’s Green Belt Movement
forty million trees along the Gobi’s
three-thousand mile southern strip
the Great Green Wall approved by
the African Union in 2007
from the Atlantic to Senegal to Djibouti
nine miles wide
five thousand miles long
when completed
the largest feat of human agriculture
in history

bacteria Bacillus Pasteurii
injected into sand dunes
turns them into tree sustaining
sandstone

encased in dung from a passing animal
a seed can survive for months without rain
sending a single taproot in search of
groundwater

China by 2020
one hundred million acres of trees
area larger than Germany

Global temperatures
may make more deserts
more forestation schemes
fever dreams of the deserts’ future
a chain of greenhouses
orchards running across the Sahara

 


Sharon Goodier is a poet from Toronto, Canada. She has been published in Koru, Quilliad, Carte Blanche, 11th Transmission, Dove Tales Nature Anthology, Adana, and New Legends Anthology. She was long-listed for the Mary K. Ballard award in 2014. In 2015, she self-published a book of social justice poetry, A Stone in My Shoe. She is a founding member of the renewed Art Bar Reading Series.

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