The rains come
too late these days
and leave before their time
withering fields foretell
the coming of furious famines
Spring swallows summer
summer stumbles into a sweltering fall
while winter joins the fray
with snowy deluge and blinding ice
Unstoppable fires consume the skies
from Kangaroo Island** to Paradise***
A melting Arctic chokes the oceans
which claim the coasts and bury the cities
just one whittling whistle from the catacombs
of coral reefs bleached and buffeted
by a plague of acid and plastic debris
proliferate into ten-in-a-year
while countless typhoons pummel the peace
of once Pacific regions
Birds are falling from the sky
lizards roasting on their rocky perch
Out of balance, out of breath
our Planet gasps and groans
as murky moons wobble their way
across the wilderness of a broken sky . . . .
The earth we used to know
*From “Green: Sighs of an Ailing Planet”, the author’s forthcoming book of poems
**An island in South Australia famous for its beauty and abundant nature reserves. It was one of the causalities of the Australia fires of 2019/2020.
***A town in California, destroyed by wild fires in 2018.
Niyi Osundare, one of Africa’s foremost poets and academics, is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English, University of New Orleans.