Gaia by Elijah Basler

The forest is alive
Branches snap in exclamation to a joke
Whispered by the trees
The wind whines in protest
To the crushing of flowers
Not by a foot but a sole
You are alone on this path
Through the underbrush
Through the pine thickets and burrs
Through the wildflower dotted fields
But you never feel alone

Tall grass reassuringly whispers you secrets
As you pass
The wind plays with your hair
Like a lover after a long day
Singing in your ear
Professing its love
The birds high about you call out to one another
In fluctuating symphony
Eyes peer out of the shadows
Be that of lynx or wolf you cant say
Peering back you feel the weight of its gaze
Much older than any feline in the dark

If monuments of old stone could have eyes
You were staring into them now
The heart of the forest
The green man
The mother tree
Older than any human-constructed form
Older than any idea
Older than time
Stronger than love
Powerful enough to kill gods
Staring back at you now through the thorned jujube

These eyes have seen your whole life
They’ve been there your whole journey
From your birth to your eventual death
They have seen it all
You watch your own history now through those
Trying to glean some taste of what’s to come
But just as the feeling washed over you
It vanishes
Leaving you peering
Into the foliage as you were before
Now you see just how alive the forest
Really is

Elijah Basler is a poet from the Ottawa region. He is currently finishing his undergraduates degree at the University of Ottawa, where he is also a member of the poetry club. His work can be found on Instagram: @wandering.thinkings