(Poem 1) Cycle of civilizations by Janine Canan


I always felt like a shoot on a branch of a long tradition,

a legacy continuing from the Paleolithic and beyond—

that rose out of Mother Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago,

to people the Earth in successive waves, that spread over Arabia,

edged around India through Sri Lanka, Indonesia, to aboriginal Australia;

tens of thousands of years later migrating north, a few, from Ethiopia

to the Caucasus, later on forking eastward over Asia

and Beringia to America, south to Tierra del Fuego,

and simultaneously westward through Europe—

always leaving their life-prints, thoughts, and visions,

etched and painted in rocks, leaves, ice and wood,

then printed books, read on electronic computers.


But now it seems that soon

computer, book, paper, wood, leaf and stone will all

be littering the vast deserts and rocky mountains

baking to finer and finer dust in the naked blaze of the Sun,

and carpeting the great oceans covering most of the planet.

And who among the remaining will remember any

of the languages so long and painstakingly preserved?

Who will even know how to find the wild edibles and unsalted waters—

will anyone know how to grind the grasses into nourishing grain?

At night under the dazzling sky, will nomads seated round a fire

tell stories they scarcely recall?


Will they sing, dance, and pray to the Moon and myriad stars,

and wake in the early dawn to go hunting for berries, fruits,

roots and nuts, mushrooms, greens, fish, and water—

marking the rocks with their signs as they pass?

This has happened before.

Will the great stream of Culture—of poets and storytellers,

scientists, doctors and sages—that gloriously gushed

through books—run dry and narrow as the mighty

rampant Saraswati that today

yields only a few drops….


(Meet Mago Contributor) Janine Canan

Poet and psychiatrist JANINE CANAN MD, who lives in California, is the author of over 20 books, most recently Mystic Bliss: Poems and My Millennium: Culture: Spirituality & the Divine Feminine, and Garland of Love: 108 Sayings by Amma. She received the 1990 Koppelman Award for She Rises like the Sun: Invocations of the Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets. Visit JanineCanan.com and Facebook.

BARBARA ROSE BROOKER MA, founded the world’s first Age March, and writes “Boomer In The City”  for The Huffington Post.  Her novels include Should I Sleep in His Dead Wife’s Bed, The Viagra Diaries, and God Doesn’t Make Trash. She teaches writing at San Francisco State University and The Shanti Project. Her paintings are exhibited in Los Angeles galleries. Visit Barbararosebrooker.com and Facebook.

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