I do not want to think that people are actually
that shortsighted. I’ve got my little Pollyanna vision
and a million real examples of brilliance and yes
the hand outstretched. But where is the other side of
longing for the pitched battle, eye to eye, for blood, for trophy,
possession and dominance. Rilke, I do want the change. If I could
pray, I’d pray for it. If I could pay, I’d pay for it.
Your box of darkness, brother. I write the word
but I don’t embrace it. We are not related as if those
uniforms you wear: dark suit, white shirt, colored tie or olive drab,
your closed door, your greed, your short-sighted power/land
grabs. Where is my platform upon which to roust you
from unlimited consumption, from war and paving over
in time to save the olive ridley sea turtle, the Sumatran tiger,
reef-forming corals, the orangutan, ourselves.
Do you miss the birds that no longer shout morning’s alarm—
the world a less wondrous, colorful place as we forget
again and again to celebrate diversity, the very thing
we live upon, a planet that grew elephants and oryx, and you.
It’s not more people that we need — don’t you see that? — or more
stuff. Unless it’s food for the starving, cloth and fuel, compassion. Not
bigger homes, more gadgets. The Amur leopard, just 84 left.
But who is counting?
We all are, one way or the other.
Yvonne Daley is a career journalist who returned to poetry for sanity in these troubled times. She lives in Vermont, still a sane place.
Image by Maria Teneva.