There Was Time

 

 

 

 

 

There are no empty cities, silent as tombs, not yet.

There are no atomic missiles falling from the sky.

It’s a rainy, spring day, the air heavy with blossom.

The greening grass glistens and birds sing their songs.

Cars pass by, planes drift overhead, though fewer than before,

There’s no reason to fear, not in this small town,

That’s never suffered from tornado or war, but there is time.

 

There was time in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico too, plenty of time,

Then it hit, in the night, they heard the winds howl, saw the waters rise,

Clutched at babies torn from their arms by violent seas,

They could not take it in, at first. It was hard to take in.

Everyone loved them, the beaches and palms, their friendly ways,

The waters were azure, lapping gold sands, places pristine,

Then it was gone, blown into rubble, flooded two fathoms deep,

The trees stripped clean, boats shattered, bodies rotting in the heat.

They had prayers and hopes, lived decently, if poor.

But none of it helped, when it hit,

These were people like any others, did what others do,

Worked when they could, thought of finer things,

They’d heard of the change, but then that’s life,

So some said, making fun of the threat,

Because they did not understand or didn’t want to,

It wasn’t enough to save them, when the lights went out,

When the sky and the sea became one.

 

There are buds on the trees, soft clouds in the sky,

There are whales still diving deep in the sea, there is time,

But the fires raged the summer long, wherever summer is,

Burned down forests, and towns, the animals and insects,

Billions they say, exterminated, extirpated, erased, nowhere to flee,

And people too, though most were lucky to come out with their clothes,

They too thought things were ok, ignored the warnings, the signs,

The wise ones who knew and spoke but were silenced or mocked,

Or worse just ignored, people just didn’t want to know,

And when it happened looked for others to blame.

People are like that, for they thought they had time,

Freud have mercy on us, forgive us our minds,

 

There was time in New York, until three buildings came down.

Then their armies Hurrahed! and their new wars began,

It could have been stopped, but nothing was done,

Protests were peaceful, and so were ignored,

One country fell, then another, and more,

They claimed it was peace, as Hitler had done, and the people believed,

They had to, to accept it, to cheer it, went along to get along,

They claimed it was just, for the good of mankind, to make us feel good,

But everyone knew, who wanted to know, what the truth was.

 

There was time on the farms ‘til the rain stopped coming,

Or never stopped when it fell, ‘til the heat dried the soil,

And stunted the crops, made life living hell,

That air-conditioned nightmare Miller wrote of so well,

But there was time for some to claim it was all a charade

Nothing to be worried about, claim it was man made

Could be undone at will, it was all a big game,

But the floods and the winds and the storms didn’t listen.

The Barrier Reef died, the oceans became poison,

The great forests died, the bees disappeared, fireflies vanished,

But they thought there was time.

There was time at Chernobyl, at Fukushima, Japan,

When they exploded the bombs that foretold our doom,

There was some time for loving but more time for hate,

For it’s easy to hate, to give the stiff-armed salute,

When ignorance rises like air from a swamp,

When it’s all about me, and who cares about them,

There was time to improve, but the enlightened were killed,

Or pushed to the side, all of us guilty, with something to hide.

For life cares no more about us than the gods we devised,

Then Nature struck back with another strong blow,

Still there was time, time for the blaming, your fault, not mine,

‘There is time,’ they all shout, but we’ve surrendered it all,
We’ve wasted the Earth, we’ve wasted ourselves.

‘Christ have mercy on us.’

“Freud have mercy on us,”

“Marx have mercy on us.”

“Life have mercy on us.”

There is no mercy for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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