Poems for the Anthropocene
And on the seventh day, God sat back in his Ikea Poang
chair, lit a cigarette and blew smoke rings that travelled
miraculously in sequence across the skies.
And when the ash tip fell it fell as gritty smuts that set
the ancient Californian forests on fire and all the crews
fought the fires but after weeks of this were too exhausted
to continue. And even when the flames were extinguished,
they flickered like electricity underneath the surface
of the earth, bursting out momentarily in the Mariana trench
before the ocean ate them, then burst out again in Tasmania
where they became the very devil.
And families fled the flames that ate their timber houses
like a Komodo dragon eats a lizard and one particular
family ran to the water and became six bobbing
blonde heads and a dog underneath the jetty
while everything around them burned.
And I do not blame God, even though in Genesis
he tells us that everything is for our use and our use only;
all the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky
and all the creeping things that creepeth along
the ground and the fracking companies and Shell Oil
and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,
the thousands of sea birds ruined, all the
laughing gulls and the diving gannets and the pelicans
waiting to be cleaned - again – for all the world
like a Pietà;oh, how they are fallen!
Back in the clouds, God begins to hear voices;
they rise into the atmosphere from every corner of the Earth
and some of them speak in tongues and tell us
this is not climate change or the consequences
of our habits upon the planet.
He removes a shred of tobacco from his lip,
considers it for a moment, then stubs out the cigarette
and, vowing to give up again, rises from his chair
and remembers some of the things his mother
taught him, because mothers are the fount
of all knowledge. He goes into the kitchen,
fetches a bucket, some cloths and a Brillo pad.
These poems were first published by Wayleave Press in 2020 in my pamphlet titled Self Portrait as Ornithologist, Karen Lloyd.