Monday, September 16, 2019

A Poem on Commission

I was asked by a member of our church to write a poem about the Earth.

"What?!?!" I cringed. I'm not a poet.

Turns out, I had brought this on myself. On Earth Day, we were given index cards to write an idea for how to celebrate or save the Earth. Since I'm a writer, I wrote: "Have people write poems about the Earth."

The church member said, "You wrote it on that card, so can you write a poem about the Earth and present in two weeks?"



Since this is a writing blog, among other things, I decided to share it, in draft form, with the universe. Here is the second mostly polished draft of my poem.

A Prayer From the Earth

My sentient beings,
My darling children,
My best beloveds;

You are crying,
You are angry,
You are afraid.

You are afraid for yourselves, and
You are afraid for me who sustains you.

You do not need to be afraid for me.
I have endured for eons of your time, and
       will endure for eons more.
It seems I am tenacious.

I will tell you a story about my strength.

Once upon a time,
       hundreds of millions of your years,
I was robust.

Life thrived in my oceans and waterways.
Life was abundant and growing in my grassy swards.
Life flew in my crisp, clean air.

In my beginnings I had been so alone, so lonely.
By that time, I was filled with the joyfulness of abundant life.

How proud I was.
How lucky I felt!

As you, my darlings with brains, have learned, joyfulness and pride are fleeting.
In one single moment, everything changed.

On that day, a huge rock, (from what you call outer space), hurtled through my atmosphere.


Let's hold hands, darlings, for this next part of my story
       is blacker than your darkest night frights,
       more horrible than your worst monster imaginings,
       more heartbreaking than any loss you have suffered.

Remember, as you become fearful, that I am here
       to tell you about this terrible time.
I am here because I survived.


The alien rock burst through my atmosphere –
       the atmosphere I had built up over millions of eons and
       that supported all the life I was so proud of.

It burst through and slammed into me.

It was bigger than my moon.

It was as uncaring.

It sent dirt flying across me, clogging all my waterways.

It sent ocean water smashing across me, drowning all the land.

It sent sulphur into my air, poisoning my atmosphere.

This strike by an outsider was so  powerful that I could have gone reeling --
       away from the moon,
       away from the sun,
       away from my home.

But by some miracle, I did not.

I was still home, circling my sun with my moon circling me.

But I was mortally wounded.

Nothing lived, nothing was sustained by me.
I was near death.


Life as I had known it, ended that day.

What little survived, was poisoned by sulphurous air.
Time, by any measure, ceased to exist.



My fatigue was excruciating.
Yet, molecule by molecule, the sulphur dissipated.

Water dripped and slid and splashed through my roughened landscape.

Somehow, I was tenacious.

One day a tiny blade of grass poked up through dirt from across the globe
       and made oxygen.

Another day a tiny lizard popped out of its egg that had tumbled in the ocean
       and made its way to shore,
       to live beside the blades of grass.

Another day a lizard's front legs sprouted wings
       and it flew up high.
Life forms grew.

I began to heal. I was healing. I healed.


I was different.
No more giant, egg-laying dinosaurs (as you call them).
But instead, hairy mammals who bore their young live and chattered at them.

Instead, new land forms and new oceans.
Instead, varied, vigorous, innovating life.
Somehow, out of my near destruction, came you, my darlings,
       my best beloveds.

It seems I can't help but sustain life.
I am indefatigable.


And now, because you are aware, you are afraid.
You're afraid that with so many of you,
       you are draining my resources.

You are.

You're afraid that you are poisoning my waterways and land forms.

You are.

You're afraid you are depleting my atmosphere.

You are.

But you are not an uncaring alien rock.

You have not come close to destroying me like the rock.

Even now, at this most desperate moment,
       you are aware of me
       and you care about me.

You have the power to correct the destruction you have wrought,
       and you are using that power every day.

Do not despair.

My darlings, I have faith in you.

Now please, have faith in me.

I am tenacious.

I am indefatigable.

I endure.

I heal.

So will you.

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful! I'm going to share it with others. I have thought about this myself--that asteroid and how She came back, how resilient life is and that we are part of that.