The forest is a nymph - A poem by Laurie Axtens

Why campaign for the forests? Most Australians live in cities, the forest is something far away and alien, full of ticks and leeches and discomfort. However much it is part of our national identity and mythology or even how vital the forests are to the survival of species that fill the pages of that mythology, it's not a part of the average Australian’s day to day existence.. This perhaps more than anything is the dilemma as forest lovers we face. How can we help other Australians love the forest as we do? How can we help build an attachment to the forest that inspires other to want to learn about it and protect it?

I suggest it is only by spending time in the forests that people build that attachment and our job as much as anything is to get people there..


The forest is a nymph with whom life longs to be

Whose crystal eyes dance in the streams

In the fragments of reflections of a stark and open sky

Whose voice a chorus greets the sun

And welcomes the moon with a haunting “mo pock, mo pock”

That echoes long and lonely in the crests and towers of the trees

And as she walks amongst those giants

They reach out their vast and powerful arms

Waving huge garlands and showering her parade with leaves

Till like a lizard I a little patterned suit

She sits down to bask at midday

and the cicadas in their thousands talk about her days

They say they say they say they say they say

That she is cruel

And eats the unfirm pseudo mouse that cannot get away

But she just laughs

And glides away between the lily’s and the lacebark

But the cicadas relentless pursue her

They say they say they say they say they say

That when she has sex

As nymphs are want to do

It is as though a fire rages across the ridges of her thighs

And fireballs explodes up her ravines

To leave her smouldering at wet

With the next morning’s dew

But she just smiles

a seedling breaks through the ash bed

But the cicadas relentless pursuit continues

They say they say they say they say they say

That when her lover leaves her a deluge of tears pour down

Drowning everything that crawls

Roaring grief through all the streams

The trees go weak to hear her

Some collapse and die

But she just laughs

Like a sun shower pattering on a break of ferns

And as the sun sets

The cicadas fall quiet

And as I sit here and stir the billy

I say

And have seen her

And breathed her breath

And drank the waters that pond and trickle and cascade through her lap

That she is the essence of beauty

And I gladly make her a present of my heart


(Laurie Axtens)

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