Home » English » An Elegy for Humankind

An Elegy for Humankind

Day 24 Of NaPoWriMo 2018.
20160317-Forest Nymph Composite-Edit LR

Let’s put this in perspective:
I’m but a blue marbled speck of dust
Circling a pedestrian, middle aged,
yellow dwarf in the backwaters of a
Common spiral galaxy.

My inhabitants, come and go constantly,
The dinosaurs lived for 165 million years,
Compared to them, you’ve been here a tenth
Of a percent. Yet, in that time, you’re
My most special inhabitant: in mere ten thousand years,
You have built civilizations, you have reached my moon,
You have reached for the stars. You are capable of
Creating things of incredible beauty, and
you’re capable of contemplating you own existence.

But, you’re also capable of incredible cruelty, greed, and war.
You create, but you also cause much death and destruction.
You have created an existential threat because of your
penchant for burning the
Remains of your fellow dead, extinct species.

You have evolved to be at the apex of all the species,
You’re endowed with a beautiful mind,
but do you have enough wisdom?
What you do will wipe out many other species,
But make no mistake, I will still be around,
But I will be inhabitable to you and your kind,
I will go from hospitable to hostile.
Will you walk in the steps of the dinosaurs?

There is still time, show me you’re my proudest achievement!

The prompt was:

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. But we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it. Need inspiration? You might look at W.H. Auden’s elegy for Yeats, which ends on a note suggesting that the great poet’s work will live on, inspiring others in years to come. Or perhaps this elegy by Mary Jo Bang, where the sadness is shot through with a sense of forgiveness on both sides.

I realize, I generally write a Earth-day poem. This time I haven’t. So with today’s prompt, the idea was to try and combine Earth day with an hopeful elegy, of sorts. I feel a bit heavy handed approach to today’s poem, but I have been short on time.

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