Vani Dadoo / Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai, India

English Teacher: Ms. Anjana Roy


Mumbai suffers from an acute space shortage, and lacks in open, green spaces. The existing green areas are threatened by pollution, trespassing, and even by the development of transport systems. Cutting of trees is not uncommon, especially during the monsoon season, to widen roads, prevent crashing of trees, and for construction work. I had witnessed the same; when I did not find a tree where it always was, as it had been cut and cleared away. An ugly stump was left behind. This reminded me of how the masses are still unaware of the glaring effects of climate change. This event inspired me to write this poem.


The Tree Outside My Home


There is a tree on the road

I stand under it every morning

As I wait for my bus.


There is a tree on the road

Branches, wide and broad

Looming over me

Protectively

Creating a broken sky

Cooler and darker

People stop to hide from the sun

stop on their morning run

For a moment of relief

Then resume

Refuse to acknowledge the shade

And move away quietly.


There is a tree on the road

At night, it participates in the backdrop

As a darker shade of black

Cars zoom past

Blinding lights

Red Yellow Red Yellow

Leave behind a trail of smoke

A fading noise

An unnerving silence that stretches

Until the leaves shush it.


There is a tree on the road

Branches reaching out

Into the tropical air of my city

to shade as many as it can

As if a designated job

Recognised by us

Only for a second.


There was a tree on the road

Yesterday it was there

Today, no.

I only see an ugly stump

Of 58 rings

and an incomplete one

Merely

A stamp of its existence

A remaining evidence

Of its murder.

They said they wanted to

Widen the road.


For the first time

As I wait for the bus

I felt the sun

Trying to burn my skin.