belching sooty smoke
once pure air
into granite –
lichen covered mountains –
are coated in filth
just as ours are.
Death hangs over
a leaden sky,
the sweet scent
bitter orange sunrise
signals what many
still refuse to believe:
The Earth is on Fire.
Those of us capable of Love –
Humans, who suffer,
those who fought for justice
continue to grieve
in a Silence
impossible to break.
if it comes at all
will come too late.
Humans have had 40 years
The age of the
will not survive
a species gone insane.
Although my poem ends here there is a part of me that projects my heartbreak and rage onto the planet hoping for retribution:
even as S/he prepares
to redress imbalances.
Hell has no fury
like this ‘Mother’s’ scorn.
“On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body convened by the United Nations, released a major new report concluding that the world cannot avoid some devastating impacts of climate change.”
The New York Times 8/9/21
The best we can do is to mitigate the extremes ahead; we can expect raging fires, intolerable heat, flooding, cyclones, tornados, melting glaciers, droughts and other natural disasters to change the face of the earth for at least another 30 years even IF humans are capable of reducing our carbon emissions at all. Tree deforestation is responsible for 20 percent of our present carbon emissions. The remainder is due to the use of fossil fuels, big industry, agribusiness, trucks, cars, flying planes, burning wood or pellets, running air conditioners, etc. etc. There is no doubt left. Man is the culprit of this natural holocaust, and if we are people we are all culpable. So much for human hubris. Like Icarus, a few powerful men flew too close to the sun, and now, as a result of egregious actions and our complicity we all begin to fall…
For many years I winced when I heard people calling the earth “mother”. That warning bell has never ceased to ring (the one exception is that of Indigenous peoples whose loving, respectful, reciprocal relationship with the earth continues to help them survive patriarchy – these people have earned the right to call the earth ‘mother’).
As a feminist I shudder when I think about how the unequal structure of patriarchy has treated our human mothers – sentimentalizing them, judging them, refusing to pay them, treating them like servants, refusing to pay them, raping them, leaving them in poverty as they aged if not before, and worst of all, expecting “perfection” at every turn, and if mothers don’t live up to this patriarchal cultural ideal we BLAME them without mercy. Men, women, and adult children – all are culpable.
And we wonder why mothers blame themselves?
What chills me as an eco feminist, is that it is also clear to me that what we are doing to our human mothers we are doing to the Earth. To give the reader just a few examples: We sentimentalize nature through romantic art and poetry, yet we judge her as one who is ‘red in tooth and claw’. Mother Nature is cruel and uncaring. We blame her mercilessly for natural disasters. We routinely rape, slaughter her forests, mine her precious body for minerals gas and oil, pollute her waters, and air. We accord her no sentience, no feelings (except as enemy); she is a ‘resource’ to be used and abused by humans, men, women children alike.
The one difference between human mothers and the Earth is that as human mothers we are blamed/and/or blame ourselves for our shortcomings. If we turn towards Nature we see that She does not engage in blame. The Earth is focused on survival of the whole planet and not its individuals. (Yet what astonishes me is that she is capable of such deep compassion, as those of us who turn to her for help soon learn. She becomes a mirror witnessing for us in our joy and in our grief). Change is who She is. ‘She changes everything she touches… Everything she touches changes’. To that end, we are now seeing Her beginning to redress the imbalances that humans have created. As the youngest species on the planet we are literally her children and for some it is tempting to hope or believe that she has grown tired of abuse and is about to erupt in rage. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Earth is invested in Life and to that end she is willing to make whatever necessary sacrifices are needed. Life, death and renewal, this is the circle of life as Carol Christ has stated repeatedly. That we all will suffer, human and non – humans alike is inevitable. But one day, as our stories have been teaching us since the dawn of humankind, she will birth an Earth that has been purged of its tormentors.
I, for one, am finally nearing a point of acceptance of what lies ahead. Losing all the people I loved and having to witness the death of so many birds, animals, flowers, trees that have sustained me throughout my life have brought me to this edge, a place where I am finally getting ready to let go.
Afterward: The Power of Dreams…
Roughly two year ago I entered a dream that was so vivid that I still feel as if I lived through it. I had a small clear bubble in the palm of my hand; it was wrapped in plastic. When I removed the cover and opened the sphere I saw to my astonishment a tiny ark that was overflowing with animals, trees, every conceivable living being and there was so much green. I was overjoyed. This was the Earth! Life would go on. It was only afterwards that I realized there were no humans to be seen…
Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.
2 thoughts on “Earth Rises Again by Sara Wright”
Alas, I watch the TV news and see that half the world is on fire, half of it is being flooded, half of it is melting, and half of it is filled with angry unvaccinated people, I begin to wonder if we’re living in the End Times. Yes, that’s too many halves, but we’re in a mess right now. Thanks for your frank post today. Bright blessings to us all and especially to all mothers, especially our Blessed Mother Earth.
Ah, thank you – its just too much… meanwhile we bless all mothers including the earth – yes we CAN do that!