Humanity’s Late(nt) Apology to an Olden Mother

Note: Last night, reflecting on the coronavirus and the hour-to-hour, sudden changes in our global living, I wondered: What if? What if this worldwide viral onslaught is but one wave of environmental assaults on (insults to) our accustomed ways of being?

For, as I consider the growing, present threats of climate change and our seeming across-the-board, over-the-globe less than universal human willingness to acknowledge (and, even less, to act accordingly in the face of) the reality, what if more are the woes to befall us?

Last night, retiring with this question, this morning, I was awakened by the following words of free-verse.

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She, at all times, for sake of my desiring
(at times, my ceaseless clamoring, over-) served me well
from her Earthen store of vittles; always there, virtually more.

green globe

And She, graciously, from me withholding nothing
as my ever-rapacious craving
wanted (needed or, so, protested I) more.
I, thus, heeding nothing of any call
or cry
to modify my perpetual belly’s ache: “Feed me!”

Mother Earth - olden

I paid attention, little to none, as She,
right before mine eyes, truly, underfoot
(if only had I looked),
more and more, by the moment, aging
thus, less and less, drawing
from Her cupboard the bounty of mine accustomed taste.

Suddenly, it dawned upon me that I should be (begin!) caring for Her!

Yet tho’ She, o’er time, hath changed,
I remain who I am, with intemperate appetites,
ever-wantful,
ever-needful.

The voice of morality long hath bade me: Will you care?
In fearful anxiety, I answer still: Can I change?

My reason demands I must,
for without my change in care,
we, both my Mother and I,
will go the way of all flesh,
which, as the prophet hath proclaimed,
is as grass that withers and flowers that fade.

4 thoughts on “Humanity’s Late(nt) Apology to an Olden Mother

  1. Paul,

    You echo my own thoughts so much in this lovely poem. We have indeed broken faith with our Mother, the one who nurtures, shelters, and feeds us, who gives to us everything we need, including indescribable beauty and inspiration, who has absorbed our assaults and forgiven them for millennia, but who seems to be finally announcing to us that She has Her limits.

    I said to Ted a week or so ago that I believe Mother Earth may be letting us know that She can no longer afford us, that our damage to Her integrity and our destruction of many of Her other children has become too much. I don’t know whether this current crisis is a warning shot over the bow or a first step in our elimination from the planet. Whichever it is, I take it very seriously.

    I do part company with you in one respect; I believe the Earth will survive and be fine. While we have the capacity to wipe out species and cause great destruction, we have no capacity to quell the Earth’s creative and nurturing powers. To me, the key question is whether we can learn to love and respect our Mother and her progeny before we become a sacrifice upon the altar we humans have built to our own vanity and greed. We are not indispensable. In fact, every non-human thing on the planet would likely be far better off without us. Humility and compassion are the keys, I believe, if we are willing to accept and use them.

    Thank you so much for sending this, Paul. I so appreciate your publishing these ideas and speaking so clearly what I think many of us are beginning to understand.

    Much love,

    Karen

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  2. Dear Paul & Karen,

    As we are all practicing of self-distancing and self-quarantining I’m taking this time to read, study, reflect and write, so though I probably won’t be responding as I always done please know I’m reading and processing everything you write … and sending love during this very difficult time….

    Loretta

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    1. Much love back to you, Loretta. I know this time will mean great changes for your passionate work with Alzheimer’s caregivers and will also very likely affect your ability to be with your mom, as you so lovingly, faithfully have done. Please know my heart is with you as you absorb the changes you’re facing. May your reading, reflection, and writing be blessed, and may you and your dear ones remain safe and at peace as much as possible. If you need an ear or pair of eyes or a virtual hug, I am here, my dear sister. I love you.

      Karen

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  3. My dearest Karen, I pray that you are right that “the Earth will survive and be fine” – and I write this in the realization that it may mean that human life, as we know it, no longer will be tenable; that is, that humankind will be eradicated from the Earth. Still, what I fear is that we, humankind, will our proven capacities and activities for self-interested avarice, can (and will) one day destroy what one of the Episcopal Church’s Eucharistic Prayers describes and defines as “this fragile Earth, our island home.”

    I also, on reflection, am rethinking what I have shared from the point of view of acknowledging that I tend to view things – life, the world, my life, et. al – from the shadows. Perhaps, I pray, there is a brighter, more hopeful perception – that is, one that is not rooted in flim-flammery or vacuous imagining or wishful thinking – of what may come of this, aye, what may come of us through and in all this.

    And, yes, Loretta, these are difficult times.

    Praying you, each and both and all those you love safety.

    Love,
    Paul

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