2100 AD : A poem

The children turned the page and said
What is this creature?
It is the spirit of the wind
And the heart of fire
And its name was Cheetah I said

And the children turned the page and said
What is this garden green?
It is the creator of beauty
And the seat of life
And its name was Forest I said

And the children turned the page and said
Where is this place?
And I said
It is where freedom flies
It is the link
It is where the soul finds its sanctuary
And the gospel its spirit
And its name was Wilderness.

And the children said
You have stolen from us.
You have taken what is ours.
We do not know Cheetah or Forest or Wilderness
Therefore how can we know Soul or Spirit or Freedom or Fire.
Because you have destroyed the link
We are blind.

And I saw how they grasped desperately for a light
Out of the darkness we had led them too

And I had no answer.

Val Payn (2005)

This poem by South African writer and environmentalist Valerie Payn was originally published in the anthology ‘For Rhino in a Shrinking World’.  Visit this website for more details: https://rhinoanthology.wordpress.com

Val will be an occasional contributor to this blog.


2 thoughts on “2100 AD : A poem

  1. I get this poem on so many levls.
    And I always wonder about the wisdom of sharing such sentiments of despair. When I raise this and people bother to inquire why I think this, its because I wonder if such expressions will help wake people up – or just have them turn away in their despair.
    These thoughts lead me into research of the power of visions – something that people can move towards rather than a reality they have to be painfully torn away from.
    But perhpas its not an either or question…perhaps its a matter of needing to recognsie the reality of the world we currently live in – feel the pain of what is going on – and then move into hope of and action for a vision of something better.
    Maybe one without the other is incomplete…


  2. This poem succinctly describes how raped I, as part of our earth, felt when standing on the edge of a gold mine crater. Aching for our planet, the weight of my grandchildren’s grandchildren’s distress bellowed in the emptiness.


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