Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nothing to Save

A friend and I conversing about the fate of the planet, veering between the two poles of doom and idealism, fear and acceptance, gave rise to this poem.

I saw that yes, the planet would end.

Or I would end.

The two were mixed and I could not distinguish.

It approached.

I saw that we too like the dinosaurs would pass away.

The suffering of the animals, keeling in the seas and in the forests, would be great.

The butterflies would slowly pass from the surface of the planet; nothing would flit.

The corals in Australia had already died in 75% of areas; soon nothing would light

The way of fish or blackskinned divers in search of the curious.

An area the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was dead water filled with plastics we had left there, ground down to bits the algae could not breathe through; everwidening, it gained as fish surrounding died from no algae to consume.

Meanwhile, I mulled over whether to get a navel piercing.

Why not a navel piercing?

Or whether to season my cauliflower curry with one or two teaspoons of red-black ancho chile powder.

Meanwhile, the planet turned.

And in the morning, I got into my pale green 2001 Subaru Outback, and listened to news of a filibuster as I drove 40 miles to work as a teacher, spewing my lot of carbon into the air with the rest of them, the rest of us, as we drive the planet to its destruction.

What happened to the green and blue paradise of animals and flora with which I had been entrusted, so many years ago when I dwelled in the Garden of Eden?

I was supposed to be steward of them, to keep them healthy.

What had I done?

I was supposed to fight it, to fight the ones who were poisoning it.

But I was the one, I was the human.

(I was fighting at the fences and turned back to see I had let escape my own ones out of the gate of my little poor place.)

I saw there was nothing to be done.

No doom to be avoided.

Nothing to save.

It would come, it would pass away.

Pity the dinosaur, pity homo sapiens.

So wise, so knowing, it thought, for a moment.

A second in the eye of the universes.

And to the region, #4971, that lies beyond time,

The eye that sees time as an odd artifact made by ancestors, a child’s pull-toy lamb left on the floor of an attic abandoned by Victorian children in a house left to be sold away.

The consciousness of the fires of Mars, red planet, that ensures it spins in exactly the correct orbit to press on its path around the sun, that it never drops into the vast, but stays in the dance of hot attraction

This would continue beyond me, beyond us

And the sun also would pass away,

Only after the planet of our birth, whose culture I had admired and tried to sing in, would lose its green and blue flush of youth, and another ice age would come, and not a thought would be given to what we once had been or dreamed or even loved.

Yes, even love, which I had prized as core,

This also would pass away,

As if no one in the galaxy had even felt it beneath their ribs pulsing or sending its waves out from afar.

Love, like a 45 rpm record produced in the 50’s, all the copies of which had been crushed in little black shards and ground to a fine powder, its vibrations never to be felt or even imagined again.

If not it, what?

I don’t know, do you?

No I or you to know.

Black holes humping, wormholes thumping.


Consciousness, which began all and will continue, inhuman, graceful.


As it began, and shall (never) end.