nativity of now

1.
when one by one the trees fell
when buildings began
to scrape the clouds
when goods became gold
became notes – became shifting
numbers in a digital system
became worth
when earth became asset
when coal of the deep
burned and burned
eating the sky and lungs of the living
until even the moths changed colour to survive
when lives became cheap
and everything disposable
throw away away
where?
when whalesong became cries and pleas
rumbling the bones of our sleep

tell me
who among us
did not know this was wrong,
which child did not grow up asking
but why?

2.
when they asked kane tanakei
the oldest person on earth
what in her life she had enjoyed most
she did not hesistate
or cast her mind back
through her many years
to find a perfect moment

but pointing an emphatic finger
to where she was
she said “ this –
right now”

3.
so i said bring it on – the change,
(be the change – am the change)
let all else fall away –
and it does and i do.
fall. slip.
slip of the tongue and thought.
slip in the mud of this flood.
slipping in shoes in this mud
where no shoes were made for walking.

quiet mist morning mud flood
i walk – barefeet ankle deep
in slip-silk mud,
feel my way in slowly
until the earth offers firm footing
for our journey

4.
when the end of the world comes
a man will sell his daughter for
food enough to get them
through the dry season or
drink enough to forget her name.

when the end of the world comes
the lawns of suburbia
will be neatly trimmed
screen lights flicker
soothing living room walls

when the end of the world comes
we will be sipping tea
ocean elbow deep
and rising

when the end of the world comes
a great plague will
creep across the nations
silent and deadly –
its name is apathy

when the end of the world comes
we will understand
that the world we live
is not the same
as the earth that lives

5.
tell me who among us
did not know this was wrong
which child among us
did not grow up asking but why.

6.
and now and now
the day comes soft
skin to skin
with air so thick and warm
with summer and mist you can eat it –
birds rowing the full air
on purring wings –
calling to one another
from the fruit hung trees

the forest begins
and begins again with
each breath of the many –
my voice is breath of the forest
flesh shaped and rounded
with the morning.

7.
if we saw all –
the beginning and end
and the linear projection
of our actions and reactions,
if we knew already
all there was to know,
would any of us still be here –
would any of us choose to live.

8.
we summoned the change wind
and it came
like a slow salt beast, barnacle-skinned
we summoned the change wind
shaping our siren prayers – luminous, winged
until our skin remembered the taste of rain
we summoned the change wind
and it came


For Brendan at earthweal’s weekly challenge: native to the now

https://earthweal.com/2022/01/17/earthweal-weekly-challenge-native-to-the-now/

11 thoughts on “nativity of now

  1. This seems so prophetic, sad and wise, Lindi:

    ‘when the end of the world comes
    a great plague will
    creep across the nations
    silent and deadly –
    its name is apathy’

    I think it’s already happening. Have you watched ‘Don’t look up’?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Don’t Look Up” won’t get anywhere near the pathos of “when whalesong became cries and pleas /
    rumbling the bones of our sleep.” That broke my heart. The path to your response to that in the final stanza has such difficult clarity, but that’s a stellar achievement these days.The “nativity” you come to in “a change wind / shaping our siren prayers” finds the manger in the desert of now. An immense amount of feeling packed in here, and it includes hope.. Glad to see you back at earthweal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is powerful Strangely there is a deep part of me that feels many of us here were birthed for these times. We knew somehow what we were getting into when we drew our first breath and we knew we’d come to be here at the end/at the beginning – observing the passing of the old and birthing the new in our poems, our laments, our daily walking through the mud.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was going to write “if all we can do is observe the now, even if we’re powerless to change it” – but that’s not a “just” (even if it is just). to observe keenly, the Now, is uncommon. I suspect it’s always been so, and why soothsayers and forecasters have usually been damned for their prescience. so if all we can do is observe – than we are lucky to be able to read such words as yours, which are clear, and sad, and true. ~

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s