Global Warning

Poetry is sometimes too much with us,
always tangling underfoot. Like kudzu
or the parachuting dandelion fluff
we superstitiously disperse with puffs,
poetry goes wild, turns weed,
its niche become a whole ecology.

O Peoples of the Earth, hear me on this!
Poetry clings to everything. We can’t
hack back its proliferating nodes, trap
its encapsulated seeds, which survive
the seasons, germinate in pavement cracks,
on distant rooftop tar. Poetry thrives
off CO2 and every breath released.
We must live with the change it brings.


The underlying epidemic dimensions of this poem were not as striking when I wrote it over a decade ago at the beginning of my retirement and what I envisioned as an unbroken period of poetic composition.

Only now is it slowly dawning on me that my instinct was right. Nothing ecstatically Dylan-Thomas-esque occurred, though I can recall some pretty self-consciously inspirational imoments when a light seemed to shine as words and syllables fell into place.

Instead, it is in the background that poetry pullulates, simmers away, but rarely approaching a boil. Just as I had warned in the text, it turned out impossible to avoid getting entangled in it, which, like kudzu, is a weed always underfoot, clinging to everything.