'What kind of period is it/when to talk of trees/ is almost a crime/ because it implies silence /about so many horrors?' Olive Senior quotes Brecht in the preface to the last section of Talking of Trees, but having read her two collections of poetry I am tempted to re-word the quotation to ask, 'What kind of period is it when to talk of trees is to voice so many silenced horrors?' These horrors to which Olive Senior gives voice are acts of barbarianism perpetuated in the name of civilization: European colonization of the Americas. As Wole Soyinka almost said, 'The [wo]man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.'
Collett, Anne, 'And Woman's Tongue Clatters Out of Turn'1: Olive Senior's Praise Song for Woman-weed, Kunapipi, 20(2), 1998.