Tell It to SunStar: Trees

By Isabel Escoda

The dreadful orgy of tree-cutting that’s been going on lately in Cebu makes one hark back to poet Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees” that goes: “I think that I shall never see/a poem lovely as a tree/a tree whose hungry mouth is pressed/against the earth’s sweet-flowing breast/a tree that looks at God all day/and lifts her leafy arms to pray/.....poems are made by fools like me/but only God can make a tree,” which is certainly apropos because mindless officials seem to believe that it’s more important to pour concrete north and south to expand roads to make way for polluting vehicles, instead of these officials worrying about the health of the citizenry who try to survive as they struggle through the daily nightmarish traffic to get to their destinations while the fetid air fills their lungs day in and day out, leading to exhaustion and poor health that affects families in a province on which once flourished narra, banaba, tindalo, talisay, bagawak and mango trees that helped oxygenate the air, but all those are now a distant memory as a dreaded drought, deadly dengue and dangerous delinquency seem to inhabit this ailing island where the many poor lead miserable lives cheek-by-jowl with the few rich living in fine houses surrounded by lawns that are watered by underpaid servants who wash their cars and ensure that their swimming pools are filled, all the while the pitiless sun is seldom interrupted by random rains and short showers that don’t turn the brown vegetation green, and parched throats among the struggling populace line up to feed P1 into the roadside dispensers they call “ATM”s to put water into plastic bags the size of a boy’s hand, oblivious of the fact that the liquid may be laced with bacteria, thanks to unscrupulous ATM owners who source their water from brackish wells that have long lost their aquifers, and so it is that children today have no shady places under which to play because the adults have been busy chopping down majestic trees which can no longer look at God all day nor lift their leafy arms to pray.


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