Tuesday, December 29, 2020



I did not have to go far to find a Feast of Earth Fools,
led by a Lord of Misrule. Across the border
a bacchanal such as we have never seen has been
rioting for four years that kept me awake at night.
It changed me.

Emerson said, "Wisdom consists in
keeping the soul liquid."

Well, I tried. But it was the Misruler's defeat at the polls
that restored my soul to me, and renewed my hope.

There are still fools aplenty in the halls of governance,
who likely will try to obstruct every good step forward,
because that's what fools do, when power and party
come before the people they are paid to serve.

I feel the Ancestors hovering near.
They are worried. They see we are only 
a handful of years - a handful! - away
from climate catastrophe. I see the look
in Greta Thunberg's eyes - is she giving up?
This year trudges on to its exhausted close.
"Next year," I say, with faltering hope,
"next year will be better."

Our job as poets is to bear witness.
"Bear this," the poet was told in a dream,
so bear it we must. The creatures starving,
dying, going extinct, silently disappear.
They have no voice with which
to tell us they are gone.
The world waits for us to notice,
to care about something beyond 
our simple lives.

This earth ship is sailing a stormy,
warming, plastic-laden sea.
When the poles melt, the oracle says,
the sea will rise fifteen feet.
Millions will drown, seaside cities
will go underwater. Including mine.

Whichever horizon to which 
humanity sets  sail
is fraught with peril.

A poet told us we don't have to change the world.
"Our only task," he tells us, "is being changed."*
And after we change, we act.

* from Robert Bringhurst's poem "Occupation".

Well. Our task is being changed insofar as our awareness leads us to change our habits and priorities, so Mother Earth and her creatures can live. And to raise our  voices to demand those who lead us lead us towards zero carbon emissions and clean energy. Like yesterday.

for earthweal, where we are contemplating The Feast of Earth Fools.  Wishing you all a more encouraging 2021.


  1. At least when the fools used to feast it didn't damage the planet under their feet. May the last four years disintegrate in our memories like newspaper in the burn barrel
    Cheers and Happy New Year!

  2. We are in dire need of wise fools--foolish gives too much credit to the last 4 years. Malevolence is more to the point.
    Let's hope for our better selves to show up soon.

  3. A "Lord of Misrule" indeed, we won't miss him, when and if he goes!

  4. You said it all here, Sherry. An unstinting look at the realities we face, but fail to face up to. If the climate catastrophe unfolds unchecked, covid-19 will seem like a walk in the park.

  5. I agree with Jim - he won't be missed.You summed it up beautifully in the lines:
    ‘This earth ship is sailing a stormy,
    warming, plastic-laden sea’
    and the Lord of Misrule charted a direct course for disaster. Let’s hope the new captain can sail us safely home.

  6. Better wise fools than the foolish (t)wits who usurp the throne. Long LONG time ago a poet held the power to crown a king with poems of honor, yes, but also unseat them with scalding refrains of satire. Now we're just fools out singing in Lear's rain. Bearing witness I suspect now means writing the changed. Thanks Sherry -- B

  7. Oh yes, we do need to bear witness. I like the idea that our only job is being changed as well. Simple enough. Smiles.

  8. Happy New Year Sherry ! Stay safe.

    I see the girls are desporting themselves in a very unladylike fashion....probably at the Lord of Misrule's New Years Eve party. I hope there was not a Bible reading when the clock struck 12,,,oh no that could not have occurred because he only had one copy...the one that turned into a a fireball when he held it up outside a Church near the Whitehouse.

  9. "The Lord's defeat in the polls" gave me a double take! Where I live, "the Lord" (separated from the "of...") always means Christ. Though "Lord of Misrule" seems to fit DT, I'd change that second phrase.


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