“I’m two with nature”—Woody Allen
We fled Woody and the cities
in the tie-dyed seventies
headed back to the land, man,
and fed ourselves on nature’s bounty
while planning on saving the planet along the way
forgetting that nature bats last.
It’s been almost fifty years now
of have-a-heart traps, deer caught in the headlights,
road kill left to glisten in the moon-filled nights
while the weather changed and changed and changed
it seems that saving the planet was put on hold
Nature is stepping out of the dugout, bottom of the ninth
So what have we found out about ourselves over these years?
Are we one with nature or have we zeroed out?
Are we part of the problem or are we part of the solution?
Are we most parts compost or are we mainly pollution?
Does the planet really care if we’re one or two with its grand evolution?
The first pitch is in the dirt.
The bats are KIA, the bees are missing in action
The ticks have taken over and the mice are moving out
We retire into the sterile comfort of our insulated houses
watching our clever little devices for news far from home:
How about that Serengeti Plain? That Asian oceanfront swallowed up by tsunamis?
A visit to the mound—how to pitch to the Great Mother?
Meanwhile forgetting to ponder this—will anyone be left to tend our own graves, to till our fields?
Are we stewards of this planet, or are we merely along for the ride?
Does the climate change because of us, despite us, or to dispose of us?
Cartesians have sat high in the saddle for four centuries telling us not to worry
Now it’s time to listen to Chief Seattle, Geronimo, and the Haudenosaunee
lest we forget that nature bats last.
Rawlings is a Vietnam veteran and the author of four collections of poems: Orion Rising, A G.I. Portrait, In the Shadow of the Annamese Mountains, and A Baker’s Dozen (children’s poems). He is a founding member and former poet laureate of Veterans For Peace.