The Forest Speaks

This poem was written in two parts. I was asked to write a piece inspired by the first people’s, in India they are called the Adivasi. They are known by different names all over the world, collectively we refer to them as the indigenous peoples.

This piece took me on a trek into the mountains, where I followed signs to the first site that inspired Part 1. Following the guidance in Part 1, I continued until I received Part II. It felt right to hunt the poem, tracking it in the land and in the sky, as we used to.


The forest speaks
A language living
To hear it
You must be alive.

A wind rustles
Confirming your direction
A bird flies
Hinting your destination

If you don’t know where you are
Look down and listen
If you don’t know where you’re going
Look up and pray

Not to a God that you don’t see
But to the presence that exists all around you

The forest speaks
To those who have ears
Are you ready to listen
And receive?


The first people have a way of life
It is natural and uncontrived
They follow natures wisdom
Which taught them how to survive

Abundance is all around them
Because they have eyes to see
They do not struggle with their purpose
Trusting the stars with their destiny

They know the life of the tribe
Through song and dance they play
Innocence their mode of being
With faith in the natural way

Riches are the colours
Woven into their dress
Love the look in the eyes
Of those who know they’re blessed

The struggle began
When they were made to be wrong
Forced to abandon their culture
and the lands to which they belonged

The child within was broken
Under the weight of a heavy sword
Severing them from the Great Mother
Burying the umbilical chord

Where sustenance was once found
From living a natural life
They roamed the city streets
Supporting themselves in strife

Institutions surrounded them
Schools, prisons and more
Exchanging slavery for independence
Eroding them from their cores

This story is universal
It is a grief-stricken dance
But to turn our heads away
Is to deny a great romance

For now we’re being called
To redress an ancient wrong
To re-discover our earthiness
And find our hearts true song

We are standing at crossroads
And it’s time to make a choice
Do we unite in solidarity
To give the first people a voice?

Fearlessness is needed
To unearth the shadows within
To hear the ring of truth
Over histories distorted din

Or do we cover our ears
And pretend that life goes on
That if we sleep the night away
We’ll awaken to a bright new dawn?

To choose the path of courage
Is a love story ready to be told
Where the new learns humility
and reclaims the ways of the old

For what we thought to give
Is the gift that we’ll receive
The return of our hearts true voice
And a knowing beyond what we believe

For what we will find
Is a light so vast and profound
A memory that everything’s connected
Through a current of eternal sound

So first let’s learn to listen
To hear the forest speak
And trust that we’ll be guided
To discover what we seek

For what we truly want
Has been in our hearts us all along:

To receive the gifts of who we are
To celebrate our humanity
To unite our global family
and to sing our sacred songs
And receive?