Sanctuary

Corona came shouting STOP!
You heard Greta Thunberg say, How dare you!
Dear David Attenborough agreed then
Jane Goodall said she was going to plant five million trees.
Stop the traffic, stop the pollution, the bombing, the rocket launches,
the oil tanker spills, the logging and manufacturing all that junk.
Corona said, And most of all stop torturing and killing animals
in the way you do as if they can’t feel pain,
as if they don’t experience love, bawling, chasing
the trucks carting away their newborn to be slaughtered.
Lamb of God!
They are sentient, intelligent, the essence of beauty.
Listen, Clean your house, take care with people,
watch yourself because if you don’t I just might kill you.
Smoke haze over the big cities clears,
In Delhi you can see the Himalaya again.
America burns.
In the sanctuary of the Wombat forest,
I rake the debris on the forest floor and burn off
praying that summer will not breathe
her fiery breath on this place, all hell breaking loose.
Under the ancient trees where the Dja Dja Wurrung women gave birth,
I see an archway,
something moves amongst the leaves, the wind perhaps.
The spirits of the those not considered worthy of life,
chanting their song of the Dreamtime,
The trees remember them.
Listen! I place my head against the gnarled lumps of bark
about the size of an infant’s head.
The hollow interior of the tree is quiet.
The sun shines his rays through the great lofty branches
of the dense forest that meet like a vaulted ceiling of Gothic architecture.
This is my chapel, this is my cathedral.

℘℘℘℘

FRANCES GUERIN IS A CERAMICIST AND PAINTER, AND FORMER COUNSELLOR. SHE LIVES ON DJA DJA WURRUNG COUNTRY, WHERE SHE SENSES THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST ELDERS IN THE ANCIENT TREES AND THE ROCKS, AND SHE ACKNOWLEDGES THE PRESENT AND EMERGING CUSTODIANS OF THE LAND.

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