A prophecy for Earth Day

Crystal ball. Photo: Mo, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Crystal ball. Photo: Mo, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Earth Day is, if anything, a day for taking the long view – a thing that seems increasingly difficult to accomplish amid the heated rhetoric of this moment. The twin cults of self-absorption and immediate gratification accelerate society through another hectic day of consumption. Taking the long view requires that we get over ourselves a little bit, a prospect that has all the appeal of a nice bowl of hot dirt.

Being a writer, I am more than usually susceptible to self-absorption and particularly ill-adapted to getting over myself. But I manage on rare occasions to break through to the long view nonetheless, and see that in the epic of deep time, I’m just one of the extras.


The seas shall rise and recede,
the glaciers wane and wax again.
In this land, called by another name,
folk will speak a tongue unknown to me.

These genes I carry will be swizzled
back into the random millions,
manifesting here in a skeptical eye
or there, a knobby knee, an undershot jaw.

These hills, in the low slow heat of time,
will flow like wax, like dunes
after the storm. Nothing will avert;
nothing will abide unchanging.

The new moon may glimmer
with the lights of cities, or not.
None can say. But however loud
my cry, or poignant my song,

no word of this prophecy will remain.


12 Comments on “A prophecy for Earth Day”

  1. Christine Demarais says:

    Love, love, love this poem. No matter what we do to ourselves and this planet, the earth will abide. Thank you!

  2. Ethel Larrabee says:

    So perceptive. Keep up your good work.

  3. Terry says:

    ‘Prophecy’ – well-thought out and written, Dale!!!
    NCPR does a fine job for its viewers and listeners!

  4. Connie Meng says:

    Hi Dale,

    I read every issue for your poetry and writing. Thank you.

  5. Richard Hezel says:

    Oh, you nailed it! Your words are so much more articulately poetic (poetically articulate?) at capturing some thoughts I’ve had as well.

  6. Sheryl Davey says:

    This poem speaks so much truth. In truth there is beauty. Thank you for this creation.

  7. Meg Bernstein says:

    One great poem! Fabulous!

  8. Meg Bernstein says:

    P.S. thanks for being born!

  9. Dale J. Burnett says:

    This poem really speaks to me, taking vague notions I have had and articulating them clearly and poetically. Well done! I love it.

  10. Ellen Rocco says:

    What Meg said. Yeah, hooray for Dale…the future may not have him, but we do.

  11. Pete Klein says:

    Nice poem, Dale.
    My Earth Day prophecy is that the Earth and life on the Earth will survive long after the last human kicks the bucket.
    We don’t need to save the Earth. The Earth will save itself from us.

  12. Steve Saviski says:

    Thanks for the poem , Second thing I read this morning , and made the first a little easier on the soul… Thanks again Dale

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