Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Haiku

Today is Earth Day, of course. I'm reading Bill McKibben's compelling new book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, which argues that it's too late to save the planet; we've already changed our planet irrevocably, so we should learn to adjust to our new circumstances. Of course, we're new to this geological age, so it's hard to know how to adjust.

I suspect that I should move further inland and upland. Or at least that I should buy some land elsewhere for that time when I'll have to flee the rising seas.

But I can't even carve out time to grocery shop properly. How could I find a piece of land elsewhere?

No, I'm a child of the 70's. I grew up watching Big, Blue Marble. When I was a child, you couldn't swim in many of the country's rivers--and they sometimes caught fire. Because of the changes sparked by that first Earth Day, now you can swim without too much fear. When I was a child, in major metropolitan areas, you could see the air you were breathing. Now, you can't.

So, I live in hope, while preparing for disaster. My favorite pantoum that I ever wrote begins this way:

Alternate Apocalypse

We expected mushroom clouds and radiation.
Instead we changed the chemistry of the atmosphere.
Chunks of glaciers break for freedom and sail across the sea.
Ice caps melt, and the sea swallows islands.

I won't post the whole thing, since it is unpublished elsewhere, and I want it to have wider publication than just my blog.

In honor of Earth Day, I wrote a haiku. Well, I should clarify. It's a haiku only in that it follows the syllabic requirements per line: 5, 7, 5. I understand that the true form has other requirements, but I've left my notes from that haiku workshop in my office, so I can't list them here.

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day 2010

Improbable Earth,
suspended in space, warm rock
of life, blue marble.

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