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Excerpt

4.

From Nature’s chain, whatever link you strike,

Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.

– Alexander Pope

Welcome, welcome to the Anthropocene

raccoon, coyote, house mouse, peregrine,

squirrel, red fox, rattus norvegicus

all you creatures who can live with us,

being sufficiently plastic to adapt

and thrive upon our handouts, urban crap,

suburban rubbish dumps and garbage cans.

Welcome Canada goose, taking your stand

(all five million of you) on our parks

and golf courses – you avian oligarchs

hissing at our dogs, dropping grey-green turds

on swathes of grass. You’re what we’ve deserved

after we’ve homogenized the landscape

planet-wide. Our broad foot eradicates

the little islands of ecology,

the disappearing rare, the melody

of the threatened: red-eyed vireos

piping plovers, grasshopper sparrows –

all the small, sweet, uncompetitive.

Immured in cities, we forget we live

on a planet that is more inventive

than ourselves. Her secrets are undreamt-of,

even now – her hidden leaves and worms,

her microbes, her amphibians. Yet we churn

her soils, her ocean depths, her streams

like the thwacking paddles of a dough machine.

World-wide, our cities rise as uniform

as mass-produced white bread. We transform

the richly variegated niches

into starved soil for weedy species

like ourselves….

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