Once rain was welcome here
falling through a verdant canopy
that was an aerial highway
for the teeming life that tangled the air
with shrieks and howls and padded footfalls.
Once the forest was a fecund cradle
of life and diversity,
of familial allegiances and purposeful play,
of strange alliances and colorful camouflages.
That was before the forest was felled
and the smoke of fires
blackened the once green sky.
Then dry land became sand
drifting in unobstructed wind,
heaping into dunes and desert,
leaving the Amazon bleached of color,
and it’s raucous calls forever silenced.
Except at night
when the sand cools,
and memories wander the dunes,
shuffling through pieces of dreams,
puzzling over the scent of loss.
The earth shudders
and shakes off its burden.
The violators are gone.
The abusers are gone.
The innocent are gone.
Nothing moves on it
that has a plan or a need.
Great shoulders of rock
push against the sky.
Fires in its belly erupt,
and seas boil.
The wind roars across its surface,
and nothing impedes it’s progress.
Nothing scurries across its path.
No voice is carried on its breath.
It isn’t possible to weep for them all,
so I think of only one.
You there lying on the sand,
your dreams diminished
and your stories untold.
Your Earth was once home to
so many inventive ways of being.
Museums teased the imagination
with clues of glorious civilizations
long gone before this final end.
The end that began with unchecked
smokestacks and accelerated
greed and ignorance.
Glaciers melted, oceans rose,
floods and droughts and fires
destroyed all life, all possibilities.
Will some future visitor
unearth the marble hand of David
holding a computer chip?
Or uncover the bones of a
Red Winged Blackbird and
long to hear it’s echoing trill?
Perhaps they will find a
fossilized paw print and hear
the lion roar across time.
And finding them, will they
marvel and mourn the loss?
Or is mine the last testament
to such an unnecessary end?
Blood boils up from the ground.
Sanctioned death all around.
Weep now for the fatherless children,
and laughter lying in the corner
of empty rooms.
Weep now because the arrogance of power
assumed the privilege of judgment.
Weep now because killing is done
in the name of God,
And not in the name of ignorance
My land is parched and dry.
I’ll take your green fields.
My land has no water.
I’ll take your wells.
My land has split open.
I’ll take your safe homes.
I’m leaving my land.
I’m coming for yours.
A Young Girl’s Dream
When I was young,
I watched the old travelogues
and dreamed of going abroad,
Of wandering through narrow cobblestone
streets and sitting at a sidewalk cafe
eating glorious French bread,
of lingering over wine for hours as I
watched friends gossiping in the square.
I dreamed of going to Santorini
with its white, round-shouldered houses
trimmed and topped in Aegean blue.
I longed to climb its narrow streets
suited to donkeys and cats, but never cars.
To be in such a place, I would feel Odysseus
in my bones and think of Helen as a sister.
But fate found me in Greece when volcanoes
were erupting, creating a new island
no one would be left to populate.
Some people had refused to leave,
preferring to die where they had lived.
Even amid the ruin, I understood.
Today I try only to remember the dream
of a young girl in a small room sitting
at a computer, watching a gentle sun
kissing blue roofs that mimic the color
of the sea and feeling the languor of
a cat asleep on someone’s lap.
The sky fills with carbon
from our comforts and profits.
We ignore the science
and the possibilities for change.
We reap floods, and fires, and
drought, and death.
Centuries cover our footprints,
and caves echo our voices.
The Earth shrugs and remembers
countless millenniums without us.
We arrogant humans have been
but a pimple on the face of the planet.
We must get serious about climate change.