Care Too Late

Smoke hangs over deep cold waters
fed by tumbling mountain streams.
Bears and otters watch the smokestacks
stain the mist banks. Gaia dreams.

Gaia dreams of when the planet
was a place that species shared.
Gaia struggles with her nightmare
remembering when events had paired

one sort, humans, with the power
to learn how to force their will
on at first a few small moments.
Now they’re monsters growing shrill

in her dreams and in the actual
world that she sees sickening.
Gaia names the man-made monsters:
agriculture, splicing genes,

fashions leaving reason lonely,
cities rising, streets encroaching
everywhere until there’s only
room for humans, rats, and roaches.

Gaia needs man’s inspiration
like a corpse requires new clothes.
She deplores the susurration
of what human beings propose.

‘Bigger, better, obsolescence,’
cries man-built society.
Gaia, half drunk, acquiesced once.
Now she sees finality.

‘Cute when little,’ she describes them.
‘They make garbage of the world.’
She deplores their profit-plagued whirl
that’s left nature injured, curled.

‘Volcanoes I unleash will purge them,’
Gaia hopes. She is too late.
The molten flares can’t be a diadem
restoring what’s been lost to fate.

In a park paved by a president
who like Caligula adored death,
a badger poisoned by his words,
succumbing, cries with its last breath:

‘Gaia, save us, save yourself.
See the solution, pull the plug.’
Squirrels and badgers line the shelf
of creatures killed off. Gaia’s shrug

chokes on itself. She starts and wakes.
She calls the few still listening people.
She tells them what salvation takes.
She knows their faiths require a steeple,

something church-like: she tells stories
painting pictures of redemptions,
of women causing renewed glories.
Gaia and people share pretensions

that it’s not too late to save
what was beauty and in balance.
Armies march. Dictators rave.
Valour reaches to the valence

but no further. Hope expires.
Life itself, the constant wonder,
leaves the lakes and woods and shires.
Even microbes expire under

the weight of waste that’s gone before.
Moon-like, dead Earth gyrates senseless
unaware that once it wore
all the gifts that gods in endlessbouts of generosity gave
to a rock that spins in orbit
of the sun star—now a grave
with no one left to write its obit.

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