Longer Narrative Poems

By Josie Whitehead

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By Josie Whitehead

Mother Earth's Payback Time

From Ancient Greek mythology the mystical Dryads hail:
Mysterious, gentle, woodland nymphs, their presence did prevail
      Over woodland places, forest floors, especially old oak trees.
      'Love and protect our woodlands,' were their oft repeated pleas.

* Hamadryads were mortal, as were trees for which they cared.
Their lives were tightly coupled to these trees whose lives they shared.
     The King of Thessaly once thought he’d like to build a hall
     And he little cared at all about the trees that soon would fall.

His men looked round and chanced upon a sacred grove of trees.
'Ah, just what we’ve been looking for.  We’ll fell a few of these.'
      'Cut them down,' the King told them, with very little thought,
       But as the axe cut through the oak, he heard a voice, distraught.

'Please stop,' the voice cried feebly as they cut the bleeding bark.
'You’re striking at this mighty oak, and also at my heart.'
      The oak had stood for many years within this sacred wood
But the men continued chopping for the king had said they should.

The selfish king cared little that the woodland nymph was dead.
The prospects of his handsome hall filled up his mind instead.
      He little knew that Mother Earth, great goddess of the grain,
      Had learned the tree had fallen and the little Dryad slain.

She said: 'I’ll make him suffer!  He’ll pay dearly for this deed!
As he so likes the selfish life, he’ll feed and feed and feed!'
      He couldn’t stop his hunger pangs, no matter what he tried,
      And he became so overweight that he soon quickly died.

Selfish folk on earth should always look before they leap.
Good Mother Earth’s just resting.  She’s not in bed asleep!
     'Please don’t destroy your lovely world,' is Mother Earth’s advice,
     'For if you do, this time for sure, you all will pay the price.'

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* Note:  Dryads. Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology. ... Dryads, like all nymphs, were supernaturally immortal and tied to their homes, but some were a step beyond most nymphs. These were the hamadryads who were an integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well.

This poem, one of 400 of my poems, was chosen by teachers and children and published in 2010.  It really does relate to the climate change in our world of today.  Josie