I weigh the same as three pennies
and I navigate by the stars
in my nighttime migration
from Cape May to Mexico.
I need six million square miles to breed
and to winter.
I need DC and Baltimore to be my deep forest
that I might call to your heart
from where I perch beyond your sight
as you venture out to the edge of the dark.
Listen to my soul’s call, and love me,
that I may be near you when your hungry heart
yearns to drink in my song.
I won’t show you my face.
Dawn and dusk, cool nights,
I slip out and observe my succulent prey,
and I may be watching you!
I stretch out cool under saw palmetto
letting Florida sun bake and buzz and bleach,
but I move like lightening when evening falls,
and in the peripheral shadows of your dreams
I’m stalking you, too.
Through acres of ocean space
I chant and sing and rage,
call and declare.
I remember my songs over months and years.
I remember and change and improvise
and evolve my songs
like Miles Davis in the night.
I am the archivist of the ocean,
and, man, I comment on you.
I’m sure you don’t know this,
but decades from now we will sing your tale.
Where I can’t breathe my ocean,
where my babies die,
I record it all and remember what you do.
We are older than you could ever imagine.
Sequoias, tallest living beings in the world,
wide and massive as a house.
One thousand insect species reside in our branches,
accustomed to the altitude
and evolving on their own.
I’ve watched the world move and change
for over two thousand years,
seen glories and follies at human hands,
seen birth and death and growth and decay,
and you want to drive your damn car
through my trunk!
July, 1992 from "Voices of Gaia"
Reviewing my poetry of the past thirty years, I came across a collection from 1992 called "Voices of Gaia," in which I speak in the voices of a dozen endangered species from the plant and animal world. While I was directing the choral group Womansong, we enlisted our friends and families to help present a powerful performance beginning with these poems, and adding dance, improvised music and spoken word.
I will post more of these poems over the next few weeks.