Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Climate Change

Art and caption by Jill Pelto

(Used here with permission.)
"This painting uses data showing the decline in rain forest area from 1970 to 2010.These lush ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes, and with them, millions of beautiful species. For this series, I chose to separate the animals from their habitat, because that is ultimately what we are doing.
The tiger is trapped outside the forest, cornered. "

(Read the full article and view more paintings HERE.)

“Action is the antidote to despair.” ~ Edward Abbey

“Climate change ignores borders, but so do friendship and solidarity. It is time for national interests to give way to the global good.” ~ Dr Saleemul Huq

(Warning: Tough Love)

Midweek Motif ~ Climate Change

So many global statements have been made about climate change ~ both learned and popular ~ that I implore myself and you to do something different in our poetry: Make it personal and specific.  Amplify an aspect of the world so that others can see it too.  Whatever your politics and moral positions are when it comes to climate change ~ let us see details, the evidence of your senses, your time and your spirit.  Make us hear, see, touch your world.  

This, then, is the challenge 
for your new poem. 

WILD GEESE by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

March 3, 2017

Sonnet XVII

I don’t love you as if you were rare earth metals, diamonds,
or reserves of crude oil that propagate war:
I love you as one loves most vulnerable things,
urgently, between the habitat and its loss.

I love you as the seed that doesn’t sprout but carries
the heritage of our roots, secured, within a vault,
and thanks to your love the organic taste that ripens
from the fruit lives sweetly on my tongue.

I love you without knowing how, or when, the world will end—
I love you naturally without pesticides or pills—
I love you like this because we won’t survive any other way,
except in this form in which humans and nature are kin,
so close that your emissions of carbon are mine,
so close that your sea rises with my heat.

Listen to
by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (Marshall Islands)

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community.   
(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Darkness is . . . )


  1. Couldn't resist this prompt Oh Wild Geese My favourite Mary Oliver poem

  2. What a wonderful selection of poems Susan! A beautiful and timely prompt. Happy writing poets :)

  3. Hey, hey, hey poets, happy day and night! I'm almost awake and will be back as soon as I make the coffee and feed S'brina and M'riah.

  4. Great prompt Susan. I felt sad writing about it but not a day goes by that I don't think about it.

    1. Thank you, Myrna. I felt it was time to move into this unspeakable topic.

  5. A subject close to my heart. Thanks for all the wonderful links, Susan. I love the Perez poem.

    1. It's one of two he wrote in this particular posting. I love them both!

  6. Good Afternoon Hope your Wednesday is going good

    much love...

  7. Sorry, everyone, but the computers of the world have united and booted me off of the island. Am having troubles sharing two poems with the site, for various reasons beyond my control. Not a very happy camper, right now.

    1. Your entries are fixed now, Therisa--and so are Carrie's and Anjum's--all the links now go directly to the poems. Happy reading, folks.

  8. Delighted to have made it here today. I may not be able to get to everyone's blog until Friday, but I promise I will be by. Happy Wednesday everyone!

    1. Glad you're here, Carrie, We'll see you whenever you can make it back.

  9. This is such an important subject and Mary Oliver such an instrumental poet. The literary world will miss her.

  10. Depressing to write but' needs must'.It is our duty.Everyone must do their bit in the war against climate change.

  11. I just heard on National Public Radio that to bring climate change home in real terms to many people--we should talk about children with asthma having no place to breathe--that the warming planet and carbon emissions are about more than polar bear floating and shorelines flooding, etc. Is that true, I wonder, that it has to become that personal? Maybe in the next march on DC and other capitals, we should wear gas masks?

    1. And then there is this article in The Atlantic: "The Unprecedented Surge in Fear About Climate Change"
      "More Americans than ever are worried about climate change, but they’re not willing to pay much to stop it."

  12. Thanks Susan for your important prompt. Climate change is a serious topic that I always feel rather inadequate to talk about. But that picture of the tiger trapped outside the forest is moving and scary. Imagine that!

    I hope my contribution is personal and specific enough.

    1. Oh, yes. Thank you for taking up this challenge. Heading over to your place!

  13. Evening, Poets! Thanks, Susan, for this week's motif! It's been a true rollar-coaster of climate here in New York's Hudson Valley this week past!


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