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Poetry
A Requiem for the Arctic Refuge
No sign of life, no bird calls,
no mating cries from the tundra...

Only the strewn wreckage of a passing
Illness -- the discards of metal
and trash left behind by those
who write sorrow on the earth,
and leave to renew their plunder.

I remember, and so must you,
the lost sweetness of this land,
and far to the south a people
for whom it was home, driven to
forage your crime-cemented streets.

I hear a voice from another age
that would speak to us now:
"Forests precede civilization,
and deserts follow..."

Tell me, citizens in your lighted
houses:

    Is this what you wish
for our loaned and borrowed future?
When your houses are darkened
and your stations shut down,
your thousand-year dreampipe emptied...

And of our lost earth-bound refuge,

only a broad sheet of white paper
once held by an official hand --
now certified and fingerprinted,
smudged and stained with oil.

-- John Haines

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OnEarth. Winter 2006
Copyright 2005 by the Natural Resources Defense Council