Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tree Mother of Africa

Wangari Maathai, born April 1, 1940, passed into Spirit September 25, 2011
“I’m a child of the soil,” says Wangari.
“I don’t think you need a diploma to plant a tree.”
The women learn.  They plant trees.
Teaching one another, nurturing the seedlings,
brown arms reached deep into the brown earth,
anchoring the eroding hillsides with tiny saplings.
Thirty million planted!
On the faces of rural women in Kenya, there is hope.
“I have a new dress, and I can eat!”,  says one.                                                                   “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Each seedling is watered from hand-held tin cans.                                                                     

The new forest grows, the soil stabilizes.
Animals begin to return.
“Deep in the roots,” says Wangari, “we are planting the seeds of peace.”
After thirty years of planting, nurturing and growing,
Wangari gets the Nobel Prize.
“I’m a child of the soil.”
And isn’t that you and me?                                                                                                        Aren’t  our own brown hands there, planting, waiting, mothering,
knowing all our futures are in the thin new stems, their bending and giving?
“You must empower yourself.  You must break the cycle.
You are planting hope in your life, and for your descendants.”
Wangari steps out on the Oslo balcony with her prize.
The streets erupt in ululation!
This is how we heal the Earth.
This is how we heal the Earth.
This is how we heal the Earth.
“Let’s plant trees!”

Annelinde Metzner
April 2008

Listen to Becky Stone reading "Tree Mother of Africa" by Annelinde Metzner, as part of the performance "In the Mother Grove,"  2009.