The banyan tree by Cheryl Antao-Xavier

Four generations nestled
in arms like sturdy pillars.
Nature’s hand had soared wildly
creating a mammoth masterpiece.
A powerful patriarch,
the giant banyan tree.

One by one its siblings fell
to make way for urban sprawl.
The banyan tree was the last to go,
defiant spectre to the end.
They razed it and built over
the grave of the banyan tree.

Ghostly roots lay there to haunt
in land never ceded.
From cracks in the ground tentacles arose
reaching beyond the concrete tomb,
reminding of a life that once existed
on virgin forest land,
before Nature lost to man’s creations,
destroyed in the wake of his pollution

before the clamour of city life drowned
the sounds of gently rustling leaves,
and the eerie blaze of neon lights
doused the shades of the banyan tree.


Copyright © Cheryl Antao-Xavier. Originally published in Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees (League of Canadian Poets, 2018).


Cheryl Antao-Xavier has two collections of poetry, Dance of the Peacock (IOWI, 2008), Bruised but Unbroken (IOWI, 2011/revised 2017) and SELF-PUBLISHINGthe professional way! (IOWI, 2018). She lives in Streetsville, Ontario.

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