Sunday, 23 of July of 2017

Tag » Environment

Lucille Lang Day – Instructions To My Poem

 
Can Poetry Save The Earth?
— John Felstiner

Go, little poem, remove excess carbon dioxide
and methane from the atmosphere,
deactivate the chlorofluorocarbons,
close the ozone hole, restore
the old growth redwood forests
on the coast of Northern California
and the mahogany trees and cathedral figs
cleared from rainforests to make
pastureland for cattle in Brazil, stop
clear-cutting in the Tillamook Forest
in Oregon and mountaintop removal
in Kentucky and West Virginia,
save the ice floes for the polar bears,
hatch the blotchy, olive-colored eggs
of the whooping crane in Canada, help
the sperm whale, gray bat and ocelot
find mates, remove all the mercury
from the oceans, get rid of every last scrap
of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,
destroy all the nuclear weapons in silos
in Russia, China and America, and don’t
forget the ones on submarines and planes.
Go, little poem. The problems breed
like flies and expand like bread rising.
If they totally stump you, just appear
on recycled paper in a very small magazine.
The world needs help, so do what you can.

Lucille Lang Day
Beltane 2011 Earth First!


Peter Zmyj – West Virginia Mountain Man

I met him a few years ago,
on a warm and sunny
fall day,
as I hiked through the wilderness
of the Alleghenies,
it was Indian Summer,
the leaves were red and golden.
He sat on a log
outside his little shack,
carving a piece of wood.
Old man in the forested hills.
How long has he lived here for,
I wonder.
I walked closer, and the old man
looked up to me, and made a gesture
with his hand.
Have a seat, son, he said.
Then he went on carving.
I tried to start a conversation,
and I told the old man
about my travels,
I mentioned the places I had been:
Paris, New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam.
Tell me more about these places,
he said.
There wasn’t too much to tell, I said.
All I had left was shallow impressions,
I had just stayed a day,
and rushed on
to new sights, new sounds, new people.
He told me that he had spent his whole life
in these hills, and the farthest he had gone
was a town 15 miles to the east,
but that was a couple of years ago,
these days he didn’t go to town any more.
Too many people, too much noise.
And then he told stories
about the land
the trees
the rivers
the animals
and I realized
that this old man
not only knew the land,
he was the land.
When he talked, I could hear
the trees talk,
and I’m sure the old man
could feel
the wild rivers
flow through his veins.
He told me about this black bear
that lived around here,
sometimes he came real close.
The old man said he kept a rifle,
but he never tried to shoot the bear.
God made this land for all critters
to share,
he said.
I still think of the old man
sometimes.
And I wonder if he still lives
out there
amidst the trees
the rivers
the hills.

Peter Zmyj


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