You have carried us, these long millions of years,
We beasts, we leafy fronds, we crouching walkers.
The ice has come, the ice has gone again.
Your crust has softened, hardened, cooled, and warmed…
Oh! Unsurpassed in beauty are you, lover!
I seek each day to look upon your face.
Your gentle wind, your raging fire, rain’s torrents,
And underneath, your shifting, massive, plates,
All seem to me a wonder.
Each day brings some new sound unto my ears,
And night, the scents: datura, damp, and steel.
The tattoo of my own heart thrills to you,
To heaving core, the molten, moving iron.
That so often leaves one shivering, or in sweat,
Between your textured surfaces and sky.
And then sometimes I forget you…
Oil gushes from your sandy floor, betrayal.
Chemicals suffuse once fertile soil.
Holes are rent above your southern quadrant,
Mountains blasted open, or felled clear.
And too many like me, on you dependent,
Your body stretched and waiting for a touch.
But solipsistic minds forget this knowledge:
That your skin is ours,
Your oceans saline quick, flow in our blood.
Lover, forever we can say, “I’m sorry,”
But actions speak far louder than strong words,
And we, though brave and brash, are also feeble.
Lover, I fall now to my knees before you.
I will not beg forgiveness, not just yet.
My good friends shall be gathered all around me,
Holding hands, we will make better still, amends.
Together, we will clean, slow down, and listen.
Together, we will sow and reap, and kiss.
We will arc around combusting star in season.
And learn to better love you.
So I pray.
[After being unable to write about the Gulf of Mexico disaster – too many words to speak, and far too few – this poem came today, for which I am grateful. May we continue to work against the tides of greed and carelessness. The photo is from a collection on Huffington Post. The caption reads: “An AP reporter scoops up oil from the Gulf of Mexico with a bucket and displays it in his hands at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on May 10.”]