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February 26, 2024


By Julian O. Long


24 December ’68
from more than miles’
distance we witnessed
our lovely cerulean planet’s rise
beyond the bleak moon’s surface.

Too late we saw the burning
already kindled in Indochina.
Soon, it would spread to Australia
California, to the very tundra
under Siberian centuries.

Satellite photos from 2020
document our yet a while still lovely
cerulean planet wafting its fragile blue
now turned mere blue in surrounding
darkness as landmasses burn.

Another epoch’s mythic
camera eye bears witness
but assigns no value to smoking oceans
swollen by glacial melt

gone the fertile prairie
gone the mountain fastness
gone the drooping willow
climbing clematis, towering
redwood, gone
the gurgling aquifer

and after that evening’s cool
when nothing trumpets, growls
or slithers, none remain to hunt the great

or recall the Owl of Minerva’s screech

soaring aloft at midnight

from a last burning branch.

Article © Julian O. Long. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-06-19
Image(s) are public domain.
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