Morthava’s Kin are Dying

Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
Wild and treed places
in California and Oregon,
Washington and Colorado,
fires burn from lightning strikes,
in Amazonia and Indonesia,
and months ago in Australia,
fires burn because man has set them,
either by careless stupidity or twisted intention
or by environmental changes
connected to human’s
insatiable greed for more and more.
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
Morthava Wellingtonia
is rooted in a special place in Bath,
recently she reached out in her
anger and grief
asking my why –
why are her kin all over
the planet burning?
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
I have no answer to offer this
tall, wise and deeply rooted one
whose shaggy bark and needled
limbs give comfort to humans
and a home to many others,
others we disregard, ignore, dismiss
because we cannot see them,
choose not to know
who live in all trees,
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
Her pain is palpable,
continues to be palpable,
as I open slowly to the cries
and challenges of my tree kin;
as I now allow myself to feel
a pain rooted literally
in those who cannot flee
the fires or the saws,
those whose resident
communities of others
have nowhere else to go,
for they are also rooted
with their tree hosts,
dependent upon the tree
for food and shelter,
as they have been for millennia.
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
No longer can I flee, either,
the truth that humans’
presumed and barely questioned
sovereignty over creation
and its domination
on the use, overuse, abuse
of every resource,
for some are told it was,
after all, put here for us.
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
Our wilful disrespect
for other’s habitats and the wild places
where our own distant kin,
let alone our kin among the other,
found a way of life, a way of being
that is now on the brink of ceasing,
our greed and our reckless disregard,
our selfishness, our arrogance,
place all of us and all
our other kin in danger.
Right now, Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away,
some places it is happening already.

We see the flame burnished skies,
choking everything that lives within
the fires’ ravaging ranges
and well beyond – shock.

We read that rust furred orangutans
trying to find food when their
forests are gone are killed
for trying to survive
as their world disappears – shock.

We are told that if we cleared 
the leaves, dead trees and brush
off the forest floor,
so it would resemble a city park 
with as much biodiversity,
then there would be no fires – shock.
Still, still we resist what deep down
we know is that it will not be long before
we will all know what
Morthava’s kin know now,
that there is not running away,
we have nowhere else to go.

To avoid confusion, I should have noted (see Lorna’s comment below and my response) that Morthava is the name that particular tree gave me to address her. Usually, those names are kept between the individual tree and myself (in this case she also allowed me to tell my husband since it is a tree that is also special to him); however, this time given the magnitude and severity of the situation that direction/understanding was waived by the tree so that I could share her message.

4 thoughts on “Morthava’s Kin are Dying

  1. Powerful poem. I haven’t come across Morthava Wellingtonia before. Is she a tree goddess before now unknown who reached out to you in Bath? I feel the plight of the tree kin to the flames and am reminded of the terrible fires we have had on our hills here in Lancashire with the peat burning adding to the carbon in the atmosphere that is causing and driving these fires… a vicious circle…

    • Oh dear, perhaps, I should have mentioned that Morthava is the name that particular tree gave me to call her. Perhaps it is the name of the Dryad who inhabits the tree. I’m so used to using Morthava to speak to and about her that it didn’t occur to me that an explanation of the tree’s name might be needed in a foot note. I will go back and correct that. I can’t get my head or heart or soul around the magnitude of the losses right now – there are also the fires in Russia. I ache for the destruction of life and in some places the possible extinction of creatures with such a small habitat that when it is gone so are they.

  2. Hello,

    Myself and some friends are reading through The Deep Music: Offerings For The Awen and we read your pieces in it today. We are all smitten. They are so good and spoke deeply to every one of us. Several of us spent the afternoon reading through your blog and we all love it. Do you ever do talks or lectures either virtually or when it’s safe again, in-person? I ask because I run Land, Sea, Sky Travel a polytheist event planning company. I host online conferences and also trips over in your area. I’d love to talk about having you out sometime to one of our events. I can’t seem to locate a e-mail for you but you’d like to email me I can reply back. My name is Vyviane and you can reach me at


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