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From Morning Songs: If We Weren't Here

Thinking about climate change and what we are passing on to our children

 

If we weren’t here everything would flourish.

The blazing sun would rise each day like now.

The moon would do its rounds and what would perish

would not know its name. New seeds somehow

would grow and from decay bloom new flowers,

new colors, new aromas and the new seeds

would plant themselves with no one on their knees.

The forests would take back the land, grow thick

where cities were, the vines embracing towers,

ivy strangling statues and no clocks would tick,

no bells would ring from steeples--only wind.

Imagining what might be if we weren’t here

brings pangs of loss and a longing for the wildness,

a wish for one more chance to reappear

on a hilltop or by a stream and be guileless

and as innocent as Adam in his garden,

but it’s too late for such a foolish wish,

too late to say I beg your pardon.

We had the chance but blew it with our selfish

ways and here we are sitting in our lives,

watching storms and fires, droughts and floods

take what we love away and chaos thrives.

Imagining this I watch our children playing

and do not know what I can say or do

and doubt that even with my deepest praying

I could change the weather they’ll be living through.

And though I try to shake these bleak thoughts loose

and think of rainbows after thunder storms,

the smell of grass late afternoons and choose

to feel the wonder even as the planet warms.

Still, I cannot ease this ache, this pain,

this knowing what we’re passing on, this shame.

And when I see my children raising theirs

and new born babies in their mothers’ arms,

or hear the squeals of laugher without cares--

ignorant in their bliss, free of these alarms

that rise in me and fill my heart with dread,

swallowing this ache I do not want to face--

and so I turn away and shake my head,

wondering what will be, what will live or perish

in the coming weather and knowing only this:

if we weren’t here, everything would flourish.

 

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