Tales of Nature
By Ashika Srivastava
How is the environment we live in really affected by our actions? These poems bring insight into the relationship between humans and nature, in the best and worst of times.
I Am A Tree
I am a tree billowing in the wind,
providing shade to your mother’s vegetable garden.
Supporting you when you climb me like a mighty monkey,
your nimble fingers wrapped around my rough trunk.
Protecting you from the great big world
that dares to come between us.
Holding you close until we are one,
your face pressed against my smooth green foliage.
Together, we look out over the horizon
at the large luscious field of green.
A boy and his tree.
What else do we need?
Alas, you do not remain a boy for long.
Your trousers are replaced for pants,
a checkered tie dangles from your neck.
The weight of a leather briefcase
bears down on your knuckles.
You are not there to watch my leaves change colors.
You are not there to pick the fruits of my bloom.
You do not care when I shiver in the snow
as bare as a naked body.
You do not care when I have nothing to consume.
Then comes a pack of angry young men
with their pointy knives and big trucks
looking for some wood
to build themselves a new toy the size of a house,
a shopping mall.
They scrape away at me
like starved dogs at meat.
The tough shell of my trunk peels like a banana.
The pointy knives pierce my soul.
I cannot see.
I cannot sense.
I cannot breathe.
Still, I look for you.
But you do not come.
So the angry young men cut me to pieces,
destroying a source of oxygen,
a glimpse of greenery,
and a boy’s old friend.
I am a tree
A virus wanders among us,
confining many to their homes
like prisoners in a cell.
During this time,
Mother Nature roams free
as there is no one outside
to cause harm.
The air is cleaner,
the water clearer,
no trash on the streets.
In India, the Ganges river is a bright shade of blue.
China’s air is as clear as glass.
Fewer cars traverse the U.S. streets
with the release of less gas.
Wild animals come out
from their places of hiding
to embrace the earth
and live human-free!
The lockdown has reversed the roles of the world.
Humans who were once kings of the Earth
have become confused little mice merely trapped in a cage.
Allowing the environment to rise up
and claim their natural throne.
This pair of poems was essentially inspired by my observations of the interactions with nature I saw around me, as well as the poetry workshop held with Twitter. The first poem is about deforestation. I wrote it from the perspective of a tree, and the tree is talking about a relationship with a boy, using personification. The second poem is different because it is about how the initial COVID lockdown was a positive thing for the environment since people weren’t leaving their houses, thus, there was less pollution. The fact is that because we were all at home, the environment was able to thrive in our absence. The Twitter workshop was one of my most important tools because the lessons I learned from there helped me to refine and format my poem in the best way possible. I was also able to come up with my topics for my poems because of the theme of the workshop. Along the way, I learned a lot about how to actually write poetry, how to adopt real world topics into my writing, and how to persevere through many drafts before finding a final draft that I liked.
Ashika Srivastava is a high school senior from Atlanta, Georgia with interests in psychology, life sciences, creative writing and journalism. She enjoys writing mostly fiction pieces like short stories, screenplays and poetry. In the future, she hopes to work in the biopsychology field and pursue a career as a young adult author. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family, read romance novels and try new desserts.