Saturday, May 9, 2020

In Days of White Clover

Mid-spring comes to small town South 
when Chinaberry bursts in purplish hues 
beside abandoned homesteads.

Honeysuckle scents the soft air 
and wisteria drapes weary trees 
with a heavy lavender shroud.

Weeks break in fragrant waves. 
Fields that featured buttercup 
streak yellow ragwort now.

Time keeps the spring flowers 
from blooming all at once. 
Time keeps our ghosts apart.

These are the days of white clover  
when raucous bands of dandelion 
stalk the slopes of suburban lawns. 

This is the time the tanager returns 
flitting red through high branches 
amidst a hundred shades of green. 

This is the season of tender leaves
when cool winds sift the canopy 
with a soothing woodland sigh.

The world teems with calls and songs, 
lilts and chortles, wheets and teeters, 
chucks, clucks, caws and cheers.

Now is the time of new life. Why 
should I keep from singing?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Reluctant Judgment of Gaia

For three transgressions of humankind, and for four,
    I would not turn away my care, 
but I cannot cancel your karma 
    nor soften your self-affliction, 

for you sold a species for silver –
    parakeets for feather hats, 
rhino horns for hangover pills; 
    you carved tusks and called it art. 

You gutted the mountains for copper, 
    cut forests for paper cups, 
pillaged the living hills for coal 
    and filled the hollows with scree. 

You scoured the earth for baubles and gems, 
    plowed and fenced the bison plains, 
encroached on the home of the mountain gorilla, 
    and poached the lands of the poor. 

You drained the ancient aquifers 
     to till the edges of deserts; 
you pimped your crops with exotic genes 
    and sowed the soil with poison. 

You fattened your cattle in pits of filth, 
    your pigs in seething pens. 
You stuffed their guts with feed and drugs 
    and drained their blood for meat. 

From drippings and stench to kitchens, 
    a grim resistance awakes.
Soon a mutant strain breaks free 
    and mean fevers sweep the globe. 

You who live in the riches of Babylon 
    flush in the soaring of stocks, 
forever whoring your mother for more
    for you, the fire, the plague, the drought. 

Guard your hearts, you orphans of Eden – 
    a vicious spirit inflicts the earth 
and you are the conflagration. 
    Ashes of continents curse your kind. 

Yet oh how I’d gather you back in my garden 
    and wash away your pain. 
I would nurture my bright-eyed progeny 
    but you, beloved, you would not.

SARS-Cov-2 illustration
created at the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention)