home » poetry & writing » anthropocene » Excerpt



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….

Alice Major is proudly powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS)