Hume at the Melting Places: #Poetry on #ClimateChange #COP21

Today, world leaders finalized a global climate agreement. There’s a ton to read about it right now. Tons and tons. I’m hopeful. I’m also well aware of the unfolding catastrophe before us. I’m not going to harp on the strengths or weakness of the COP21 now. Rather, I’ll share share this poem, “Hume at the Melting Places” from my book Heartwood, available through Mt. Nittany Press.

HUME AT THE MELTING PLACES

The river drinks the glacier’s tears
patient, certain,
and bored.

Atlas turns his feet, assumes,
the sky upon his
shoulders.

From his heels the gravel edges
into torrents by
muskeg.

Quick picks for beaks,
the crows know,
come when chinooks leap
and grizzlies prowl.

That is today.
What ought to be?

The glacier’s sister sons cry too,
weeping into a mash
fermenting,

a cellulosic sediment on the barrel’s bottom
brewing beer so potent
pines and firs

fall, veterans lost in pain, blinded
to a war of rich
men’s making.

Masters of the borealis
soaked in the stink
of their own
piss and shit.

That is today.
What ought to be?

Farther south, the Ponderosas burn
effigies, smoking in the
thurible.

From the alter at cathedral rocks,
the incense blesses Mammon’s
congregants.

Their bodies a communion for the beetle’s mass
who gorge themselves in
an orgy

of bark and pulp
placed on platters by men.
We’ve filled the air with
our affluence’s effluent.

That is today.
What ought to be?

In Nunavut, a leather-skinned woman
remembers the days when
all walked

near the now drunken trees, once
tall and brave beacons
of life,

Now the mud swallows her feet,
her ancestors’ childhoods, her
memories.

The melting earth licks its chops,
its boggy tongue slavering,
eager to consume and cast
their remains to the sky.

That is today.
What ought to be?

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