Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Poison Fire





In cave man days, the discovery of fire 
was a wonder.
Flickering shadows on cave walls, 
fire made survival possible,
turned mealtimes into joy, 
warmed frigid winter nights.
Fire was magic.

As a species, we have evolved 
past the point of wonder, into fear:
fear of what the poison fire 
can do, has done, is doing,
to the planet that is our home.

Now, fire-bombs incinerate towns and villagers.
Nuclear reactors melt down, 
leach poison into the earth,
contaminate the land,
the growing crops, the forage for animals,
the rivers and lakes.
A nuclear accident could set off 
a chain reaction
to annihilate the earth.

Chimps and aliens alike must watch
uncomprehendingly
 the behavior of our species, 
so disconnected from our world
that we bomb the land and poison 
its clear waters,
so arrogant we think we can control 
poison fire.

The earth's heart bleeds leaked radioactive waste,
its rivers cry irradiated tears.
Air carries emissions from the poison fire
on the wind.
All in its sphere slowly succumb to cancer.
People, plants, trees, lakes, rivers,
animals suffer the effects,
while governments turn their eyes away,
touting the benefits of nuclear power.

Who holds the power, truly,
when the reactors melt down?

Centuries hence, whatever mutated, 
primitive life form might be left alive,
or is born again after a millennium of deadness,
will  be transformed
by poison fire. 

Aeons later, mankind may rediscover fire.
May he use it more wisely 
and respectfully
than we.

I have been impacted by re-reading Joanna Macy's Widening Circles, her journey into understanding the danger of nuclear reactors, even in their dormant state, to the fate of the earth. 

Greenpeace points out that one radioactive waste storage site in Nevada is located on  a volcanically and seismically active site. Oh my goodness.

posted for Sumana's Midweek Motif prompt: Fire

I have finished the book now, and promise to write something more positive next!

27 comments:

  1. Whew, this is an intense one, Sherry.

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  2. You are in touch with Mother Earth and you knew already. This reading just enforced that and helped you find your words again.

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  3. I agree with both Mary and Gail's comments above. I remember being able to sit in front of a campfire like those cave people and enjoying the magic and natural properties of fire. The scale of the poison fire in our land is so huge it takes poems like this to communicate it. I've read three of Macy's books in a more hopeful time, but I think I won't read this one for a while.
    "The earth's heart bleeds leaked radioactive waste,
    its rivers cry irradiated tears." And we cry too.

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  4. the apocalyptic scenario here reminds me of the quote: When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last tree poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.

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  5. It is to the world's shame that here we are poets, powerless except for out pens seeing the truth, shouting it out as the rest of humanity first slowly but now at a quickening pace is hell bent of destroying the earth. All we can do is keep on writing as you have done so well here Sherry.

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  6. This is such a powerful & intense write. Indeed there will come a time when man will learn to use fire much more wisely than he does now.

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  7. In the wrong hands even the very best of things can be used to destroy and hurt...as always you show an endless capacity for hope and renewal...if only there were more people like you xo

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  8. Wow.. I love the way you present a case for conservation and common sense in all your writing. I wish people would pay attention and implement. Hats off go you.

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  9. There are so much good that come from fire wisely used.. there is so much danger as well.. it's all about using it wisely.

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  10. "As a species, we have evolved
    past the point of wonder, into fear:
    fear of what the poison fire
    can do, has done, is doing,
    to the planet that is our home. "

    sad sad sad indeed

    much love...

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  11. A soul stirring piece, Sherry. Modern man stands at the very edge of the world.. above him there's heaven, and with him the whole of mankind with a history that is speedily disappearing in a mist. Sad....
    Very beautifully penned.

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  12. mankind may rediscover fire.
    May he use it more wisely
    and respectfully

    If only destructive fire-power can instead be put into good use to benefit mankind.

    Hank

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  13. The thought--the reality!--of reactors melting down makes me shudder with terror. When will we humans ever learn that some things are beyond our control, and are better left alone?

    Holy Fire

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  14. So true, Sherry ~ fire is just the tool and we must use it wisely. Great work!

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  15. Makes me want to pray hard! Sometimes it seems as if there is nothing else left to do. A powerful write, especially with the repetition of hat striking phrase, 'poison fire'.

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    1. *that striking phrase - damn thing posted while I was still editing! :)

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  16. This is the kind of thing that enrages and frightens the heck out of me. I dislike so greatly the choices that human(kind) has made. Sigh. This poem and the ones that you write that're like it are important, Sherry...even if it's not positive...it's the truth and it needs to be heard. <3

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  17. Excellent take on fire. Yes, I couldn't agree more with you. Well done.

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  18. Oh Sherry, as always you bring truth to the forefront. This one is frightening, but I thank you for the clarity of what should cause fear. Will we wake up in time?

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  19. Your poem reminded me of Einstein's words - I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Your brought that out brilliantly in your poem.

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  20. It is hard to weigh the environmental impact against the immediate need to run away from coal. Well written

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  21. I was just reading about water energy and how efficient and green it is. I never liked the idea when they talked about building more reactors. Too many have problems. I like the idea of going back to simplicity - how much better if it isnt because of a nuclear cataclysm

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  22. Sherry,
    Sad that after the triumphs of having the goodness afforded by the power of fire, that humans now seek to destroy the earth and life itself. Significant in its symbolic being, yet deadly when misused.
    Eileen

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  23. Fire warms, but fire burns, too! A powerful poem, Sherry with a dire warning... Well-penned!

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  24. The earth's heart must indeed bleed at our stupidity. Though I know we try to stay positive, we must clearly examine all the negatives that surround us. Thank you for sharing all this information Sherry.

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  25. The earth's heart must indeed bleed at our stupidity. Though I know we try to stay positive, we must clearly examine all the negatives that surround us. Thank you for sharing all this information Sherry.

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!