I gave you all, said “Come, lie with me,
on me, in me, by me, through me,
gaze upon me, caress me.
I give you life and beauty too —
all I have is yours to share
but please place me gently in your care.”
But you have torn my garments,
stolen my jewels, scarred my face,
besmeared and besmirched my skin,
groped and gouged my secret parts —
your rule, cruel, your treatment, rough,
so insatiable you can never get enough.
I writhe and cry out in protest.
I heave and crack,
send mighty tempests.
I stop the rain.
I send parching heat.
I must struggle and strive
and cry for help.
I plead too, say,
“Come, repent, be my friend,
be tender, gentle, make amends,
it is not yet too late to start again.
Think for a moment of the future.
Those children left will bemoan your folly,
and, despairing about their hope and fate,
curse your abusive misrule,
and you for being a short-sighted fool.”
O can we not live together?
I give you life and beauty.
Can you then not care for me,
love me, work with me
or must I, at last, finally, regretfully,
in deepest sorrow
turn my back and put you out?
When I walked beside the magnificent Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland, saw how much it had retreated, read about the speed with which this is happening, heard the glib pronouncements from politicians, I was moved by the idea of how exploitative we humans are and our need to act to protect the earth, the only home we will ever have. This poem and its abusive metaphor is the result.