oaks ivan shishkin
Broken
by Robbi Nester

I look for wisdom to the oldest trees, redwoods and sequoias,
old Druid oaks. You can trace their history in hollow trunks
and broken branches, blight and lightning scars on bark.
They’ve survived the fall of Angkor Wat and Carthage,
seen the rise of nations like Palau. If they ever ponder
the end of everything, they know even the oldest
trees will fall, the forests burn or be covered
by the sea. It wouldn’t be the first time.
I’m aware of Earth’s ongoing extinctions, oceans
paved with plastic waste, but they must feel it
in their roots. Maybe they foresee a world
that we can’t fathom, where new green
shoots will someday rise, renewed.

PAINTING: Oaks by Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have written many poems about the climate crisis and the disasters it has spawned, but few about possible solutions to this problem. However, it strikes me that since the solution to so many medical problems has come from the natural world, particularly from forests and trees, perhaps the answer to this one lies there as well.

Robbi portrait, 2019 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester is a retired college educator and author of four books of poetry and editor of three anthologies. Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have been widely published, appearing or forthcoming most recently in California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Spillway, Sheila Na Gig, Book of Matches, Verse Virtual, Live Encounters, SWWIM, MacQueen’s Quinterly, and many others. Visit her at robbinester.net