Tag Archives: environmentalist poetry

#22: It’s Earth Day


It’s Earth Day

and I rode my bicycle to work,
but that’s a thing I do almost every day.
I allow myself a little smugness
for making more than the obligatory nod.
I can pat myself on the back for making
the decision to live in the neighborhood
in which I work, so a thing like bicycle
commuting is an easier commitment to make.

And yet,

my house is big,
I have grass to mow, and there’s lots of it,
so a push mower is out of the question.
There’s too much shade to garden,
and we’ve not been composting like we should.
We can’t figure out what to do with all the dog shit.
All the kid’s stuff is packaged in plastic
or made of plastic and will eventually end up in a landfill.
And what about all of these electronic gizmos,
televisions, stereo receivers, speakers, computers, radios,
old refrigerators, cheap-ass coffee makers, and the like?
I’m kind of ashamed of my cd collection.
Even the most conscientious of us collect this crap
and it’s no good for the Earth.

Recently, I’ve become afraid.
I don’t know what kind of world
we will leave our children
but I hope its a habitable one,
or better than habitable.
And I wonder: Do people have it in them
to transform their lives
and reverse the damage done,
make amends to the planet?
The Earth will likely survive us in any case;
but whether it continues to support the species,
–that is the million dollar question–
and whether or not we love our children
and our children’s children enough
to somehow get the thing right
before it’s too late.

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#11: The American English Teacher Reads the Ancient Chinese Masters


The American English Teacher Reads the Ancient Chinese Masters

I want those mountains, that river,
my head in those clouds–that kind of wandering,
self-ablaze, alive with possibility,
drunk with wine,
as silent as nature,

missing now–
found again only through right diligence,
an effort conspired against by
almost every natural fact of modern living.

I long to see stars again
and breathe deeply an air free of diesel,
gasoline, concrete, rubber, and garbage, which,
even in my bucolic suburban neighborhood, is always present,
the persistent, nagging ghost,
the shadow of civilized life.

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