Poem: Whispers in the Trees

I have hunted and walked in wilderness and heard my predecessor's moccasined foot upon the path.

Whispers in the Trees

When Indians roamed these advantaged lands,
    before we made of them the spotted-owls
    of their culture and their forest turned to desert
They honored the silent tread of moccasins
Came and went softly, left no mark,
    knowing something of how legacy’s defined

But these are modern times and modern men,
    who smear the ink of prophecy across a page
    and speak of private-land and private-rights
Suddenly, and if the word seems a strange term,
    then think of a century among a million of its kind
This land, this Earth, this sphere is private now

Privacy means someone’s in and someone’s out

Fences, walls, doors and darkness define the term
Pave it, drill it, cut it down, it’s mine alone to use
Keep off, keep out, keep back until it blows away
It’s blown away before, died in my father’s arms
So trust me once again, it’s mine by laws I wrote

How came this to be in an eyewink of the world,
    that moment lost among eons when this blue sphere
    governed itself, balanced gracefully among its needs
In an instant we civilized it, turned it against us
A single flash in lightning skies, this ownership
stole the keys to treasures we know nothing of

The laws of sustenance preclude the laws of man
What cannot or will not be sustained must fall
The laws of government and armies of the world
    mean not a thing when forests die and grassland fails
That red voice, whose sons and sons would tell us so
Stolen from them now, it whispers in the trees
Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection
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