Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Machado and Arboricide Etc.

Thanks to Ángel Ruiz Pérez for drawing my attention to a poem by Antonio Machado (1875-1939), Across the Land of Spain (Por tierras de España), in Landscape of Castile, tr. Mary G. Berg and Dennis Maloney (Buffalo: White Pine Press, 2005), pp. 36-39 (lines 1-8 on pp. 36-37):
The man of this country who torches pine forests
and waits for his plunder as spoils of war
long ago razed the live-oak groves,
and felled the great oaks of the mountains.

Today he sees his poor sons flee their homes,
storms carry away the soil of the earth
along sacred rivers to the wide seas,
and on the cursed plateau, he suffers and works.

El hombre de estos campos que incendia los pinares
y su despojo aguarda como botín de guerra,
antaño hubo raído los negros encinares,
talado los robustos robledos de la sierra.

Hoy ve a sus pobres hijos huyendo de sus lares;
la tempestad llevarse los limos de la tierra
por los sagrados ríos hacia los anchos mares;
y en páramos malditos trabaja, sufre y yerra.

Thanks also to Mr. Ruiz for links to the following newspaper articles:These newspaper articles reflect an age-old problem — see, e.g., Code of Hammarurabi 59, tr. Percy Handcock (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1920), p. 17:
If a man cut down a tree in a man's orchard, without the consent of the owner of the orchard, he shall pay one-half mana of silver.

In 1931 Clare Leighton (1898-1989) visited a lumber camp in Canada and afterwards made six wood engravings based on what she saw. Here are four of the six (leaving out Resting and Breaking Camp):






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