Our research yields no insight that redeems
the evil he unleashes on the world.
Twenty-something years into his reign that he insists
historically should be called his term of office,
he stomps jackbooted over things of value.
He surrounds himself with weak or crazy men.
They feed his crippled ego, stoke his id,
and they, giggling, help him jeopardise the world.
An earlier incarnation of his type
was stopped, as such things are, but by that time
there were many beauties lost, and millions died.
The mysteries of from whence we came to here
and of where we will shortly go
are the stuff of stories we make up
and then pretend to know.
We take offence and build a fence
and finally a wall
to block our view of things we think
matter little or not at all.
But how do we know? In truth we don’t.
The most important things
might be the things that are not things:
the smile a kindness brings
and also, on the debit side,
the damage from a frown.
How often in our carelessness
we let our friendship drown
because of things that we imbue,
by thinking, with the power
to make us glad for evermore
or, more likely, for half an hour.
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.
All the stores close their registers, bolt their glass doors.
All the shoppers go home, except one who explores
the car park for hoof prints, for he’s hoping to find
the traces of reindeer. They have left him behind.
He’d stopped for one eggnog, and he had the worst luck,
for who should be sitting in the Feather and Duck?
His mate from the Navy, drinking sloe gin and lime.
They ranted old chanteys and he lost track of time.
They rejigged the hornpipe then they spliced the main brace.
As dusk came his buddy fell flat on his face.
He’d paid both their tabs from his good buddy’s cash,
left a note in his vest, ‘Don’t go throw up the sash.’
Now amok in the car park, casting light with his nose,
he attracts folks’ attention. They notice his clothes,
his felt-padded belly, fin de siècle high boots.
‘Hey, dude, you and Batman, are you two in cahoots?’
Déjà vu thoughts, history that’s happened before,
make him run to a diner, make him pound on its door.
‘Let me in. You will like me, for giving’s my bag.’
‘Come in, Hansel.’ His greeter’s a grotty old hag
who jerks him inside, saying, ‘You’re safe here from harm.
Oh, I so loved your sister, especially her arm.’
As gingerly, quietly, he breaks from her grip
to go dash up her chimney, surprised at his clip,
he notes he’s so agile it must be a gift.
‘Gift’ causes him panic as his redlined mind shifts
to the job he’s been trusted with: flying the skies
bringing presents to children. ‘My reindeer!’ he cries.
‘They’ve deserted me sadly. This evening will go
to the dogs like some royals I press-release know.
To the pits like some pols who this year gained their fat
by skinning poor peasants and avoiding the VAT.
I’m running on empty while the men who run guns
pay for adverts portraying them as better than nuns.
The guardians of Gaia have lost every round
this year to consumers, while sly pundits have found
silver linings invented to draw oohs and ahhs
from the rabble (that’s me) who could care less because
we can’t find clear targets for to focus our rage
and beliefs are derided. Pedestrian age!’
As his cri de cœur echoes through uncaring streets
an angel approaches, bearing kindness and sweets.
She embraces the sad man: ‘You’re muddled and lost.
All the chances we’ve sent you are toys you’ve tossed
from your crib into the river. You’ve tried not to soar.
You’re a raving lost tot. Never mind ‘never more.’
Here’s a new chance for Christmas (its meaning, you know).
Here’s a sleigh, brand new reindeer, and a leg up. Now go.
To the top of your courage, to the end of the mall,
to the places you dream of. I will let you fall,
but I won’t let it hurt you the grey, deadly way
that not caring shells you. Go out now, and play.’
As his angel departs him, he straightens his spine,
then whistles his eight deer, perhaps they are nine.
‘It’s Christmas, me hearties, and we’re ready for flight.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’