(First appeared as part of The Poetry Exchange’s Featured Poet, Spring, 1997 under the title: “Deforested”)
Gray day wasted while the whippoorwill
Wishes that the slushy city sewers
Had not replaced the only lonely home he knew.
The groggy foggy unfocussed hurly-burly rushing
Of splashing autos on the gray macadam roadways
That gnarl through the neighborhoods
Is vaguely deja vu.
Silhouetted smokestacks shadowly seen,
Limned in gray on gray-green,
Remind the mind how poor people pass the day after day.
Where no home fire hearth lighted cabin
In the winter woods beckons, beacons, hearkens
Heartily a red sunset glow on white snow
For a day’s work done.
One hardly knows.
Here, where machine clouds of steam unsentiently sip, sap the soul,
You wonder as the rain water wanders,
Then rushes through the gurgling gutters,
What foul trick man played upon his own brave soul,
To have forsaken all the fiery emotion that makes life great
To sit at desks, to stand in lines, to wait.
Where are the country color and
The rich thick loves hidden
Beneath the inventions, interventions, and pretensions of society?
We wander in our own gray-glass cages
In a lurching kind of mock-precision,
Like the nightmare dream of a psychotic technician.
And the only color the commuter encounters
In his travels to and from,
Is the scarlet and the gold of a raccoon
Too stupid to stay off the highways of modern civilization.
Pet Sematary (A relevant book by Stephen King which was a partial inspiration for the poem)
Isn’t the extinction of species a “normal” thing? Yes…and no. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/
How many animals are killed by vehicles? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/roadkill-literally-drives-some-species-to-extinction/
How much “labor” is actually “saved” by our “labor-saving devices”? https://www.reddit.com/r/antiwork/comments/qbgihm/for_95_percent_of_human_history_people_worked_15/