(Poem) Earth Day by Donna Snyder

If I were the earth,

I would lose myself

to intermittent plagues of despair.

How could I not?

I travel among my People,

in the lands of canyons, mesas, buttes.

Here I weep and rage (have you heard?)

to see the ravages of wars of attrition

waged in the name of energy and its profitability.

I travel among my People

in the lands of this once grand river valley,

my fragile desert, and dying mountains.

Here I weep and rage (have you not seen?)

for toxins replace nutrients necessary to harbor life.

I am exhausted by the ravages of wars,

waged in the name of progress.

Poisonous disregard and knowing acts

foul the flow of my big river.

Babies are born without brains

because mamas drank brave waters,

corrupted by evil both seen and unseen-

pesticides, radioactive isotopes, carcinogens

Babies born with kidneys outside the body

rather than their natural place.

Perhaps I could become inured

to tragedy and comedy, and

oblivious to horror and terror.

If I were the earth,

I would sometimes succumb

to violent rages against perverse perpetrators,

their flippant disregard for these senseless horrors.

But then I might regret

that greater harm befalls me

than befalls the villain of this story.

But as long as I can be

cataclysmically annoyed, maybe

I can regain my strength.

If I were the earth,

I would long for sleep–

the kind of sleep where breezes

caress me with clean air

and all my dreams show me

how I am blessed. Perhaps I can persist,

continue to have random flashes

of lucid dreams and surreal clarity,

fortuitous gushes of brine,

and floods of clear water.

If I were the earth,

I would fling off gravity’s leash,

careen wildly through the universe

until I found a safe place

where I could sing and play,

rain sweet water

into my own waiting body,

dance again

among my sister stars.

Rebirth of Gaea by Jesse Newman

First written for Earth Day 1996.

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3 Comments on "(Poem) Earth Day by Donna Snyder"

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Donna Snyder
Donna Snyder

On honor of Gaea.


It’s an even more fitting poem for Earth in 2013 than it was in 1996. “Intermittent plagues of despair,” flinging off the leash of gravity, oh wow, I am so glad you wrote this poem.


Beautiful poem!