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Page 24

<< 23. Fifty Years Ago25. Alone With Just Numbers (poem) >>

The Sixth Extinction (poem)

By Woody Powell

[Printer-Friendly Version]

She welcomed them all
with abundance;
they would eat
if they were clever,
if not, they would be eaten,
but never destroyed.

There was balance:
at the top of every food chain,
a natural restraint;
Appetites never exceeded supply,
until humanity decided
the rules were not made for them.

People proliferated right along
with rising civilization;
and wars, counter-intuitively,
became active accelerantes.

Yes. Wars, were a unique aspect
of humanity's complex nature.

She has been forgiving to a fault.
Centuries went by
as our numbers rose,
other species sharply declined,
taking with them
important food sources,
forcing humans to use chemical whips,
to extract grains from vast tracts
of exhausted land.

Wars intensified,
industry became a monster
hungry for energy,
carefully stored
throughout five earlier extinctions.
It was meant to be a gift,
used but sparingly.

Deep wounds scarified her surfaces,
her depths invaded by millions of wells,
of course it was painful,
and a violated earth convulsed.

She can no longer tolerate
this burgeoning horde
so like a swarm of poisonous spiders
she must shed
with a violent shudder;
loosening her bones,
drying up her most nurturing rivers
flooding still others,
over-filling her oceans,
drying up and flooding
their vile nests, until, at last,
the invasion is stemmed.
the numbers diminished to a point,
where she can begin to relax.

Will this be the humbling
humanity always needed to earn
it's rightful place on the planet?

Maybe.

—Woody Powell


<< 23. Fifty Years Ago25. Alone With Just Numbers (poem) >>