4 Mar 2012

I think I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree

Today when I passed by Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur I was shocked and blinked in surprise at the changed landscape - barren of trees, forlorn looking. These were huge old rain rees that took decades to grow. Those trees must have been at least as old as Kuala Lumpur itself - about 50+ years. Whose dastardly idea it was to cut down the trees I wish I knew - I'd send him a really nasty email condemning his action!

We Malaysians don't seem to hold trees in much respect, even though its been commented upon and cries of outrage over tree cutting has been going on for years. What is it about the Malaysian mentality that looks at trees as a nuisance I wonder. Unlike Singaporians who look after their trees lovingly and avoid cutting them down as much as possible. Drive through Singapore and you can see the difference - old trees line the roads and highways - all beautifully trimmed and maintained. Here, instead of trimming the branches and maintaining the trees properly, we chop down the huge trees as a first recourse. Look at Jalan Setapak infront of Camp Wadieburn - the roads are now bare of trees. Every time we want to widen the roads the trees are the first to go. And our hills - no wonder that every year we read about landslides that bring down houses and killing people. After uprooting the trees what is there left during a downpour to prevent the soil from sliding downhill? We have so many tragic reminders in KL alone - Highland Towers, Ukay Heights, Ulu Selangor - but do we ever learn?

I'd like to share with some readers here about the perpetual problem in Malaysia - we worry about illegal logging, but let's also wory about random cutting of trees within the city itself - just so that more cars can pass through, more roads can be built and more condominiums come up. Lastly here are two poems I've always loved and which reminds me so much why we have to love out trees -


by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

The Heart of a Tree by Henry Cuylar Bunner
WHAT does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants a friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high.
He plants a home to heaven anigh
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard —
The treble of heaven's harmony —
These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants cool shade and tender rain,

And seed and bud of days to be,

And years that fade and flush again;

He plants the glory of the plain;

He plants the forest's heritage;
The harvest of a coming age;

They joy that unborn eyes shall see —

These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants, in sap and leaf and wood,

In love of home and loyalty

And far-cast thought of civic good —

His blessing on the neighborhood

Who in the hollow of His hand

Holds all the growth of all our land —

A nation's growth from sea to sea

Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.


♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

wow nice post .

The Chair Speaks said...

Yes, prefer the old days when it was pleasant to walk on tree-lined roads.

Clai Estabillo said...

ahh..that poem remind me so much of my grade school days..

naida said...

Thanks for posting such lovely poetry :)

Kathy Repin said...

Naida, I just makes me mad to see such huge trees destroyed, just so that a road can be widened! And yes EJ, more and more of our tree lined avenues are disappearing.same thing is happening in Penang I heard. Thanks Izdiher and Clai - yes - my favourite poems. too.