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From: Vol.09 N.01 – A Poetics of Rights

Would we, still?

by Rees Campbell
If the trees screamed
When their mothers were cut down
If they screamed so loudly
The chainsaws were rendered silent

If the plants screamed 
When we dug up the soil
If they screamed so loudly
We could hear it through the cement

If the fish screamed
When we poisoned the water
If they screamed so loudly
Turning a tap would lead to cacophony

If the birds screamed
When we darkened the air
If they screamed so loudly
Every wind brought their cry

If the animals screamed
Not only as they lined up
For the hammer, the axe, the knife
But for the rape, the prisons, the torture

If those first on this land
Left their blood on our hands
If we were scarred so deeply
We could never forget

Would we act the same?

If the hens wailed in their cages
If the sows sobbed in their stalls
If the cows dripped tears instead of milk
If the horses lay down on race tracks
If black lives really mattered

Would we still think the same?

And if we could speak tree
Would we build houses of wood?

And if we could speak worm
Would we concrete the land?

And if we could speak turtle
Would we throw out our plastic?

And if we could speak bee
Would we spray all our crops?

Would we, still? 
Published: August 2022
Rees Campbell

is Tasmanian, passionate about the island she was lucky enough to be born on; and its extraordinary places, creatures, plants and people which inspire her writing. Love and place: for Rees there cannot be one without the other. Islandness is paramount. She writes about her loves, the joys and losses. While poetry is her focus, Rees is known for her non-fiction works about Tasmanian shore life and edible native plants. Her poetry and short stories have been published in numerous anthologies, and she has written five and a half books, the most recent being Eat MORE Wild Tasmanian.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.