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
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