Monday 20 August 2018

Our Destined Date

Posted by Jeremy Dyer *
Red Sky at Night II by Kimberly Conrad
The rivers run, the leaves do fall
The earth still turns its trick
The oceans and the prairies roar
But we are very sick.

Blasted earth, the toxins run
The blood is poisoned well
We cannot survive the fun
Of our consumer hell.

Garbage, plastic, rusted bike
It all runs to the sea
Killing man and beast alike
That poison's killing me.

When will we wake, alas too late
It's past the point of fixing
There is a destined, horror date
That no-one will be missing.

I have the hope that birds will sing
Kind winds will blow again
Stopping our destructioning
Healing up our pain.

But will we wake and heal the earth
Get rid of all the 'leaders'?
Reduce the greed, respect the hearth
Deal with all the breeders?

The earth will die, I think it's done
We're in the final hour
What's over when the song is sung
Is the funeral bower.

The rivers run, black as hell
They're dying as we speak
The urgent answers that we seek
Won't be on tv this week.
* Jeremy Dyer is an acclaimed Cape Town artist.


docmartincohen said...

I think that's what they call a 'dirge' isn't it, Jeremy? A brief hymn or song of lamentation and grief; characteristically composed to be performed at a funeral. In this case, the funeral of our planet!

I have campaigned often on environmental issues, so I'm absolutely with you on the "lamentable' aspect of human activity with regard to the biosphere - and biodiversity in particular. In one of my books I tried to highlight how in a few decades a very rich country - Australia - coldly and cruelly exterminated (I mean drove to worldwide extinction) more species than had disappeared in the previous million years. "That said", I don't really think (agree?) that we should abandon hope - because then too oppositon will weaken and nature will lose the fragile protections it still has.

Thomas O. Scarborough said...

Is it pessimism, or is it realism? Whatever the case, this poem seems refreshing.

(Post) modern thought has a fundamental problem, a great blind spot, as our civilisation seems to spiral out of control. This very blind spot is our greatest pride. It is what philosophers Kamlah and Lorenzen called 'screening things out' -- the scientific method. What we have screened out -- and massively and systematically screened out as the project of civilisation -- is coming back to haunt us. Yet we do not yet understand it. It 'won't be on tv this week'.

Keith said...

Perhaps to underscore your point, Jeremy, we share our planet’s ecosystem with billions of other species. I would suggest that it’s a tiered community that, like any other, survives only with ‘bylaws’ of sorts — a community that rests on reciprocity and expectations among its members. Yet, historically we have too frequently behaved more entitled than our neighbours within that community to apportioning resources and to making our planet’s decisions. Ecosystem responsibility does not require us to assume (idealistically) there’s equivalency among species — or between them and us — in terms of sentience or consciousness in order still to hold to the notion that living alongside those other species considerately is not just an exercise in altruism but a moral imperative. Meanwhile there are, to be sure, many elements, beyond those fellow species, that comprise the larger ecosystem, with an essential interconnectedness crucial to our collective survival — theirs and ours. That complex interconnectedness, with its mind-numbingly multidirectional spokes, makes it all the more critical that we, as humans, regard the planet as a pooled resource. Even though I personally believe that our ecosystem is less brittle than it’s sometimes viewed — and perhaps less than you might believe, in light of your elegy — there’s no question that humans’ fingerprint on the planet has been staggering. What the tipping point toward irreversible calamity might look like — and whether humans, as the catalyst for change, might be able to undo what we continue to subject the planet to — is of course an unfinished story. I personally have faith that, through right-minded policy and all that needs to innovatively inform policy on a multidisciplinary level, the tanker can still be turned.

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