Planta’s plaint

Planta’s Plaint


I had returned to Siderea my ancestral home

spending my time hitching rides on stars,

swimming in milky ways,

zipping in and out of darkness

and thoroughly enjoying myself

from my vantage point I would drink in

Gaia’s beauty seeing her as she truly is:

a solid shimmering sphere

whirling in a translucent bubble

whose edges no one has ever seen

Of late her plaintive call

has been reverberating in my ears:

come back, come back, she’s pleaded,

and save me for my home is ailing

and my once green and brown complexion

and my turquoise eyes

are becoming pitted and grey

like an old cannon ball

Her anguish has compelled me

for without my care Gaia would just crawl back

into the dark cave that was her home

before the big explosion and the loud bang

I can’t forget I’m Planta

the spirit of all plants

without whose ethereal soul

no tree or plant or flower

would ever turn up its face

to be silvered by the moon

or lacquered by the rain

or gilded by the sun

or sprinkled by the stars

Planta, who can lift a kapok tree

eighteen stories high above its siblings

for it to count the ring of stars

girdling the equator

or drape a carpet of sunflowers

over the golden steppes of Russia

A plant spirit, aroused to life

by the gongs and chimes of past imperial temples

to dip my fingers into still ponds

shattering the morning into shards of gold

while young and old pay graceful homage

to the white crane’s timeless choreography

You humans scoff at the idea of my ensoulment

seeing in me a mere collection of cellulose

and water and chlorophyll that can be cloned

and grafted and modified into extinction

for your own very selfish ends

But I have discovered those of you

who are kindred spirits

where you tend to linger

sucking nectar from my luscious lips

in the depths of the Amazon jungle

or breathing in the sharp pungency

of my sticky needles

in the glazed forests of the Canadian North

Once a little girl spotted me

as I boldly made my way

through a crack in the pavement

in the rumbling heart of Mexico City

where the likes of us fade fast

and she plucked me and set me in a pot

on her window sill while my fragile roots

pushed their way through the damp soil

Oh how I hate it when you fall into a coma

and lament yourselves that poor so and so

has turned into a vegetable as if we

did not think or feel or move

like any other sentient being

except that we go about our business

ever so discretely

I can wrap my tendrils around lampposts

and crack boulders with my tender roots

and move sideways to avoid obstacles

and if I’m in an impish mood I will please myself

in uprooting buildings with the sheer tenacity

of my deceptive softness

If you are patient and sit very still

you can see me turn my whole body to the sun

and even watch me slowly grow

like the bearded man did while lying

on my wet carpet feeling

each glistening glowing blade

push through the soil under his bare skin

but for that

you will have to become a poet

I am the vehicle in your journey

from the living to the dead

a blanket of marigolds in India

going up in smoke with your purified soul

a carpet of red poppies and blue forget-me-nots

covering the rotting bodies

of your young men in Flanders

a jasmine in the Orient

floating away with your ancestors’ spirits

in a paper boat all the way

to the sea of eternity

Death is sad but pollution is dismal

I was once planted with thousands

of other carrots into a toxic dump

forced to digest chemicals to cleanse the soil

to be later callously burned into a heap

if you ask me

I’d rather be a dandelion

flying off with excess minerals

all the way to poor pastures

They say worms are good

for they turn the soil and aerate it

but don’t forget that without me

the innards of planets would simply burst

into pimply volcanoes and implode

into deep canyons and slide

from one continent to the next

and swell into tall mountains

like at the beginning of time

You humans mourn the slow death

to which you have condemned me

and yet you hurt me and replace me

with plastic pines for the winter solstice

and plastic leaves to gas off fake oxygen

and plastic flowers to court your lovers

and you replicate my molecular structure

in a laboratory in a vain attempt

to distil my healing properties

And yet you love me

as much as you love Gaia

which is why I have decided to return

and enlist the help

of the crazies and the tree huggers

and the visionaries and the saints

and the savants and the poets

and the just plain folk

I am your sibling vibrating to the same tune

of the celestial spheres

Mozart helps me grow fast

and Bach soothes my raw nerves

and Shankar catapults me into outer space

but unlike some of your youngsters

I can’t stand rock because it makes me

want to shrivel and die!

Don’t forget me, the plant spirit

who arose in pristine purity

from the murky waters of a stagnant pool

and reached the stars

do you want to see me

shriveled and sick

or standing tall and proud?

Look at me and see your own reflection