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Smoke Rising Up

I grieve for this world. Not for the earth,
she can take care of herself.
I grieve that I will lose this world, 
that our children will lose this world.
It will be lost to them.
All the things in it.
Life in the world will be lost to them.
There will be starvation and pain, 
disease, and death, too
many bodies for anyone to bury. 
We will burn them.
Someone will toss my empty body on a pile 
of bodies and will throw other. Bodies on top
and will light all of our bodies on fire
and the fire will reach up
and the smoke will rise up
and fill the sky and the ashes will fall down
on the earth and someday some surviving
thing will eat the grass 
that grows on the ashes 
That once were us.


But nothing,
but no one will have a memory of us.
The earth will be empty of us.
There will be 
cockroaches and beetles and flies.
There will be ants and termites. Rats, 
surely there will be rats.
Maybe some fish.
But every brilliant sunset will go unremarked.
Every dawn will just be the earth turning
and the sun will just be star and no one
will be blinded by it.
Everything will be nameless.
No child will run down a deep dirt road
kicking up a whirlwind of trouble.
All that we have written,
all that we have painted,
all that we have sculpted,
all that we have danced,
all that we have sung
all will be gone.
No memory, no memorial.
No future civilization.
When we are gone
it ends with us.


It ends.
It Is empty.
It is a plain, a forest, an ocean,
a rolling sphere, cradling life,
because it is irrepressible.
because it renews itself,
re-invents itself.


It has no need of us.
It is indifferent to us.
We are something only to ourselves
and when ourselves no longer exist, 
all of humanity will vanish.
All of humanity from 
the beginning of human time
to the end of human time, 
will vanish.
The trace of us will be in what is not 
there that was there
before our coming,
before our destroying,
before our destruction


But not one single living thing, 
neither beast nor bird nor reptile
Nor cockroach
will note the evidence
and who among the dogwood and palms,
and which blade of grass 
will comprehend the loss?