No harrowing howl of scarred sky here.
Faintest whisper, fanning plume of feathered vapour
Belie fierce thrust of power hard-hurled through distant blue.
The snake, long coiled and fixed in ancient waters
Unmouths its tail, spits forth its guilty fragments
As fumes of broken chains entrain a growing fire.
In days beyond all human reckoning
Soft fury of the sun was tethered in ancient canopies.
It dwelt long within the earth, beneath the sea,
Until prying mind drew forth the ancient blood
Fashioned and forged in tectonic presses,
Now pumped through the metal hearts of strange machines.
And far from what is seen and what is heard,
The breath of frozen marshes escapes its icy cages
Gathering and fuelling a growing tempest.
Our freedoms, now enslaved to reckless will,
Have rendered mind impervious to draining colours,
To failing forests, to dying waters.
Minerva’s owl takes flight over a battered history,
Wings through ash-strewn tailings of five chimneys,
Views gnarled skeletal girders of old Dresden,
Shadows seared on walls by fractured atoms,
Wheels through napalmed forests, tear-gassed fields,
Wails through blinding dust of fallen towers.
There is more at play in the thickening of earth’s vapours
Than can ever be caught in the calculus of old carbon.
Our self-theosing masks a growing babble
As we reach the new Golgotha, where fates are fixed
And innocence laid waste under a freighted sky
To rest, before the earth reclaims her gentler rhythms.
And when the smoke has cleared and daylight’s rays
Renew the hidden life within the death,
And waking mother sings her lullabies
To comfort and console the children’s tears,
‘Tis then that newly rising blades of green
Will wave in time, and herald winter’s end.
(Enjoy a performance of this poem from the Internet Archive here)