Speak as the Tree is an ongoing collection of poetry by Headline Poetry & Press, an online, community driven paper that touches on subjects involving social and political issues. This collection invites writers to speak as a tree that has lived through an era, witnessed a specific moment in history, or been part of the writer's personal history. My poem To Be the Tree of Ténéré has been included as part of this collection.
The Tree of Ténéré was alone Acacia located in the Ténéré region of the Sahara Desert. Isolated from any other tree by over 400 kilometers in every direction, it was considered sacred by the nomadic Tuareg people in the region. It met an unfortunate demise in 1973 when an allegedly drunk truck driver crashed into it. In commemoration of the tree, a metal structure was placed where it once stood, while the remains of the tree were moved to a museum.
I was inspired to write this poem after reading Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. The book excellently brought to life the hidden processes trees use to stay alive. I felt The Tree of Ténéré, despite its quiet and solitary life, should once again be brought to life in a way that would reflect these processes.
You can check out my poem below, and on the Headline Poetry & Press website where you can find plenty of other great reads.