Ditheism

Cloaked in shroud of silver-white,

He vandalises lawns at night.

Embalming leaves, his noiseless creep

Destroys the work of Summer’s toils,

Wreaks havoc under solemn soils.

Ignorant of this, we sleep,

And wake to find him gone, his

Signature distinct over this

Frozen tract which we christened home.

Not for him. Nowhere resides he

But here, or there. Wherever, free,

His elusive fingers roam.

Unkempt grass, revealed at dawn,

Crisply wigged. Seeming to adorn,

His algid work - creating hoars -

Degrades. Till a feeble fool’s gold

Sun endeavours to fool the cold.

Briefly. Winter’s bitter wars,

Ancient, unresolved. “The worst

In history,” we suppose. Cursed

By time, they alone know. Seasoned

Habits die hard for those intent

On nothing else. So their feud went

On, on; we ignored, reasoned

That, somehow, nature needed

Us. Rising seas went unheeded,

Tradition and damage not linked.

“Progress,” we said, and slashed and burned

To our desires. Too late we learnt

How dinosaurs felt. Extinct.


Runner-up, BBC Wildlife Magazine young poet of the year 1995. Much of it is derivative, a pale imitation of Larkin's 'Going, Going...' but there are bits of it I like, and there is a thread of palaeoclimatology running through it. The only way you can truly understand the Earth's climate is to study how it has behaved on a geological time scale. Once you do that, you will see that greenhouse gas levels at the present day are much higher than they ought to be. We have polluted our environment and we are merrily continuing to do so in a blind, short-termist attitude. Ultimately, it doesn't actually matter if we carry on because the Earth doesn't need us. We should be changing our behaviour simply for the benefit of Homo sapiens, should we wish the species to be around in the distant future.

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