25 March 2009

Breaking open

The world is not ending.
I do not see an end,
I see that we have destroyed
our way of life, and our home
is changing, beyond prediction or recognition.
The only curse upon us
is that we must watch it collapse,
watch the life support systems fail.
I watched my mother die
not of cancer,
but of the treatment of cancer,
though the tumor would have overwhelmed her,
in it's own time.
In trying to save her, we subtracted,
until her organs, or what remained,
could not possibly perform all of the functions
her body required.
In the end, I believe,
she died of a loss of hope,
finding no other way to escape death,
with pain and kidney failure
snapping at her heels, she let go.
Maybe it was the graceful ending,
maybe we will all die of broken hopes.

One thing I regretted, after she died,
after the flowers faded and the memorials
were spoken, I found that I did not know
who she was, deep inside of herself,
this woman who birthed me into the world.
There were so many pages of her story
ripped out, kept private, never spoken
aloud. Before it was too late
I never asked, and she never told,
what, above all, did she desire for her life,
what, above all, did she regret?
From that clear-sighted precipice before death, still
we lacked the courage
to unburden the artifacts of her life's work,
and stitch the unfinished pieces together, the things that she learned,
the life that she lived and left
behind her, whatever the end result. Instead
we let it lie, sequestered in her body, we let it die
with her, locked and encoded in her blood.
Her story was a key I regret
not seeking.

Who will come
to our collective bedside, as the oceans like kidneys
collapse, and what remains of the forest lungs
succumb to disease and fire? Here too,
we have subtracted, to claim another day, another year.
What desperate and futile measures
will we attempt, sequestering the truth,
bioengineering the manipulated results of our industrial experiment,
to preserve ourselves, to salvage our way of life
for the few? Should we not
gracefully break upon the hard kernel
of our hopes, and let go of this earth
for ourselves? Is this not
the time to turn within, to dredge
our hearts, revive our spirits,
and confess to the next generation,
to those who will inherit the consequences
of our cumulative actions, our mistakes,
our deepest unfulfilled desires,
the simple truths we all knew as children,
but denied for fear, greed or fame?

Otherwise, what will remain
of another civilization fallen to ruins?
If we leave this part of the story untold,
will there be enough left behind,
scattered among abandoned artifacts
for the future generations of an unrecognizable
earth to pick up, rethread, and carry
forward the tapestry of our human inheritance?
Not what we accumulated,
but what we learned,
and how we loved.

by Freija Fritillary