All Shades of Green
PublishedJune 10, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement

All Shades of Green

The poet sang he’d never see
A poem, lovely as a tree; *
Whereat, some less poetic japer
Hacked it down to make the paper,
On which to read – and so destroy –
The unique fountain of his joy.

Even to climb the lofty peak,
To hug the heavens, cheek to cheek,
And glimpse the golden eagle soar,
May pull, behind me, thousands more;
Perversely churning rock to sand,
His solitudes to Disneyland.

How ‘free’ is ‘freedom’ which impairs
The equal sanctity of theirs?
Who chose the ‘choice’ which sets our greed
Above our own, and others’, need ?
Where were we, when the bust-or-boomers
Pronounced us, finally, ‘consumers’?

What ignorance induced the guilt
On which the marketeers have built
Such parodies of what we know
We humans are, and need, and owe?
On what naivety the telly
Prescribed this primacy of belly?

What idiocy oiled the plunder,
Mixed little wisdom with our wonder?
Robbed ‘freedom’ of the saner stuff,
Which knows ‘excessive’ from ‘enough’?
Let’s dream our dreams without the meanness
That mocks the green-horn in our greenness.

Not one more child to die of famine,
Dolphin of our filth he swam in,
Penguin from our oily spillage,
Jungle, strangled by our pillage;
Not one more endangered species
Suffocating in our faeces,
Tributary, beach or skua
Asphyxiated in our sewer!
All die, bequeathing last regards
To our rapacious credit cards;
To ‘choice’ that lives on borrowed worth
And debts, long underpaid to Earth.

Ralph Windle for Lilly Donahue – 2009

* AJ Kilmer(1886/1918)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree…
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree…