climate change poems

by Steven Faivus                 


Humanity's Greatest Challenge and Opportunity


A cow licks its big
      soft tongue across
    baby’s dripping cheek

A rooster cries
     before dawn
        a different signal

A black widow
     accidentally caught
  between body and bed,
       refuses to bite
    the doughy shoulder

mites, gather near,
             in the ear,
      and whisper sense
             into that
      slumbering magician

All animals and plants,
microbes too,
hold their breath,
wondering what humans                                              will do next

 clocks ring     
                                             on a wall of                                                                  must-dos  
        ✁✂✃✄ ✁✂✃✄ ✁✂✃✄

Urgent Cry                  

Whose job is it
     to send out
   the urgent cry?

Not I, said the journalist
    Not I, said the teacher
        Not I, said the senator
           Not I, said the parent
              Not I, said the scientist

Where’s Revere






Belly of the Whale

Swallowed whole
    like Jonah or Gipetto
  into the belly
of the beast

we have to see
       ourselves clearly
      in the mirror

the edges
are getting hot
    closing in

is that stomach
    I smell?

No, not yet,
but it

        mixed up

Feels fear
when   no
    is present
–the imagined, fine-tuned
    social anxiety–
      but yet
has no
    reaction to
    the real
    rapidly-growing, growling
        at the front door

Come in

Let me see you,
    so I may comfort
you, pull out the thorn,
    and choose


    the salmon
huffing and puffing
    up stream

to certain death

How could they have
    randomly stumbled
    upon such
        an insane commitment?

Yet this
    elegant suicide
      epic journey

and in their demise
their children flourish

What instinct
    are we programmed  
        to carrying out?

Our predecessors
    apparently dashed
        themselves upon the rocks
    in some way
how can we face
    our impulses
        and flourish  


This is the greatest challenge

ever to confront humanity

It is also our greatest opportunity


One Of These Days

It's come to this.
Now I'm trying to save the world.
Everyone always says don't try to save the world.
Focus on yourself and the little you can do.
From that you do your part
and you save the world.

Anyway, the world needs saving right now,
and we have to want to do it together.

Why should we?
What makes this different? I've heard it all before.
You might as well be standing on a box
on the corner with long beard and hair
whipping across face
sides of mouth knobbed with thick wide spittle
eyes wild beneath your
End Is Near sign

what can i say...
we all love our children
the science is out,
has been out for decades

what can i say?
we have a nice little system
everyone fought hard for what they got,

everyone needs fresh water and air
and everyone loves and depends on clean nature, right?

this old coal oil gas
fossil fuel technology
is so toxic and out, right?

but is it?
i’m still driving my wife’s
15 year old chevy SUV
gotta get it together
and go green
one of these days