Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Standing With the People of the Earth

A feather lies in the mud
at Standing Rock.
Fallen from a brave warrior,
it holds the prayers and dreams
of generations:

Mni wiconi: Water is Life.

They stood frozen in the snow, unmoving,
against the water cannons, the tear gas,
the rubber bullets,
sustained brutality,
peacefully, prayerfully,
because they believed
justice would be done,
the water and their sacred land
would be saved,
when it is so simple and so clear:

Mni wiconi: Water is Life.

Then the Orange Man, with satisfaction,
signed his dishonourable name
and the oil barons clapped their hands,
the billionaires all smiled.
Because money rules.
Money always rules.

But theirs is a temporary win,
because the spirit liberates.
Either enough of us will stand up
to save this suffering world, or,
in a not-distant time,
they will thirst
along with all the rest
of earth and its creatures.
None of their billions can produce water,
when all water is dead
and thick with oil and plastic.

A feather lies in the mud at Standing Rock,
symbol of a brave people
whose cause was just,
who stood under assault
for all of us,
who shared a dream of social justice
the fat cats will never understand.

Mni wiconi. 
All my - all our - relations.

A week after taking office, trump okayed the go-ahead for the Dakota Access Pipeline without a need for review of environmental factors. In fact, he has stripped most environmental protections and is dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Justice. He is proposing peaceful protestors be charged criminally, though there are a bunch of people in Washington I think deserve criminal charges more.

Big money wins, for now, and all of us lose. The planet and all of its inhabitants, and we are many, will suffer the results. Meanwhile, oil spills and chemical explosions continue apace. "Clean coal" is the new mantra. Cough, cough.

Even in Canada, we are disenchanted with the charismatic Prime Minister Trudeau, who, like all politicians, once in office becomes hobbled by the capitalistic model of money being all that matters, and has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the continuation of the doomed, financially and morally insane Site C dam above vociferous protest by the people. Money rules.

A more hopeful note: February 6, 2018: "Oil investors, Marathon shareholders, want the oil company to explain how it weighs environmental and social risks, given the treatment of Dakota Access Pipeline protestors. They have called for a human rights risk report after Standing Rock." One young protestor has just been given three years in jail for peacefully and prayerfully bearing the assault of the militarized police at Standing Rock.

Of course, all of this is moving way too slowly.

source: Climate News


  1. I love your poem - the way you've used the words the indigenous words as a refrain, a prayer - a petition - a reminder.

    And the strength in the standing .... (absolutely no pun intended) ....
    your poem speaks with elegance and grace - of foreboding and brutality, of greed and ignoring needs - basic needs - the most basic need of ALL - water - clean water.

    And I won't even get into the rest of it - I'd be ranting until the moon slipped down and refused to rise until the next millennium.

  2. Clean water is life, real life. This deliberate turning away from reality and truth is appalling. You are right, it is time to stand up.



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