(this poem is dedicated to those who work for a true and lasting solution to the problems we have caused our beautiful mother earth)

you speak of panic,
of crisis,
yet i look around me
and the air is warm
and the sun shines
and my skin radiates the pleasure
of the touch of its face
while you scream
and dance
and wave signs
and i am confused

is what we experience beautiful or not?
where is the fire?
why are we all running toward a cliff
ready to jump off
into the abyss
as if we are being chased
when there is nothing there
except yesterday
pushing us faster
and faster
toward tomorrow
when we fly into space
and crash on the rocks below
without even the comfort of deep water
to break our fall?

you speak of the war of youth,
the end of the line
to turn around our future
before it is a burned-out husk of the past
where we simply do not exist
yet i feel today as i did yesterday
and breathe as i did last year
and taste the freshness in the trees
that i cannot imagine ever losing

but you are right

you just forgot to stop screaming
and i forgot how to listen
with all this noise
and movement
and blame
and accusation
and calls for revolution

of course i desire revolution,
want change,
embrace a future that is better than now
and brought into being
to make us smile

i believe in youth,
in passion,
in direction,
in planning for how we can see
through the smoke of consumed trees
and the fog of politics
burning with petroleum wealth
but my ears are clogged
with the sound of battle
and i have forgotten how to act
with thought
and caring
and love
and insight
and wisdom
because none of those things has been spoken in my ears
or tasted by my lips
or felt against my skin
for so very long
i believe they were only hallucinations
as i gasped the air of the disappearing forest
where once i was a child


or we can’t follow you
and do the same

mother earth no longer gives birth
to beautiful tomorrows
because we have lit her on fire,
soaked her in gasoline
and struck the match of indifference
as we turn our backs
and hold our phones even closer to our faces
while we sing traditional hymns
to fiscal responsibility
and privatized energy futures

no oceans of plastic can put out the blaze
we have brought on ourselves
but it is not our mother who will die
but our children,
burned into submission
and charred beyond recognition
before they are even born

we have little hope
of destroying the planet

this hunk of rock will outlive us all
yet we are hell-bent
and heavy-footed
in our blindfolded race to self-destruction
as earth laughs to herself
and cries silent tears
knowing she will not be beaten
and it is we who are digging our graves
among her footpaths
and lighting the kindling
of our own crematoria
and jumping in with both feet
and a squeal of joy,
dragging our beloveds with us

we throw blame into the wind
and catch its echoes
as voices of another
screaming insults
mindlessly into the darkness of winters
no longer nuclear
but just as fraught with charcoal
and ash
yet in the game of finger pointing
we forget it makes no difference
whose fuel was poured over our heads
or who bought the match
to strike against our fiery bodies
but where we find the water
pure enough to soak our flame-ridden selves
before there is nothing left

is all well and good
until the problem is too large to miss,
a billboard not in the countryside
but glowing above times square
and floating over the gate of heavenly peace,
a warning
echoing from the lips of the unknown lord
riding in the clouds as if to say

you fools,
why do you argue
who lit the match
when you all live together
and nobody is confused
that your home is on fire

run for the hose together
or you will all die
in your panicked bickering!

we pretend we don’t notice
but we see the smoke
and know the fire is not in some distant forest
but here within our sight,
warm not to the touch
but melting to the breaths we try to take
but cough back out
with the smoke of melted ages
and carbon-saturated speed

not all positions are created equal
and respect is due to those
who stop fanning the flames
and pour water
on the waves of our destruction
rather than oil
on the unsettled volcano of our future

you are not lost

the answers are not distant
nor are they complex

you know what you are doing
to light new fires every day
yet you feel you have the right to continue
because it is what you did yesterday
and still survived into today

put down your delusions
and i will put mine aside too

look to life with honor
and bow to the beautiful abundance
that surrounds you
and perhaps you will shake off tomorrow’s regret
before it consumes your soul

in equality
we are not simply human
but embrace the tree
and hug the tiger

continue this way
and you will drive back the immigrants
into the flames
as you seem to desire to do
yet you will be leading them there
with your own body as kindling
for their destruction

it is not too late
but screaming perhaps will make it so

there is no war
but we fight endless skirmishes
and pretend they are a battle for mother earth
while she watches us burn ourselves
at her feet
on pyres of our own creation,
not bound to them by ropes
but by our own desire not to change today
and put off to tomorrow
what cannot wait

declare a truce
and be silent

put down your placards
and pick up your words of compassion

where hearts and minds have faltered
let us speak quiet songs
and sing melodies of oneness
before our voices are silenced
by democratic choice

tomorrow is ours

are we prepared
to sell it as fuel?

if you have been inspired to do something about the climate crisis, i invite you to become engaged with the discussion. here are a few excellent places to begin.

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thank you for reading. your eyes have done me a great honor today.