The Sunday Poem: Margaret Randall... Brazil Is the First to Fade

Now, with the unimaginable literally within view, let us take a little time to reflect on what it might feel like.

Margaret Randall continues to fight the good fight. She is international in her focus and importance. And this morning, as she does every Sunday morning, she will walk by my house on her way down the hill to the Central Ave. Flying Star. This poem is from an as yet unpublished manuscript called RUINS. The photo is by Mark Behr.

Brazil is the First to Fade

Tuvalu and Tonga, Kiribati, the Maldives
and Cape Verde
have warned us they will die.
Noah’s Arc in reverse,
nations two by two falling
over themselves, sinking from sight.
Nothing less than salvation
is ordered.
We sit around a large table,
crisis choking every throat.
I look at my comrades
then at the spread of maps.
Brazil is the first to fade
from South America’s proud terrain,
its whole northwest
leaving a giant sinkhole
in the middle of the continent.
Australia and Greenland: both gone.
I catch sight of a free South Africa
just as it slips beneath the sea,
mountains and streams
broken and scattered,
a township of children waving
as they disappear.
We will be next so I can’t hold
to the shameful habit of relief:
always another’s gaping eyes
or swollen belly, another’s
hacked limbs,
endless line of wanderers
willing one foot before the other.
The dream cuts my stalk
to the ground
threatens its bravest roots:
a warning I hold in hands
that grip the bed sheets as I wake.

--Margaret Randall

Poetry submissions are welcome. Email The whole Sunday Poem series is available from the front page of the DCF by clicking on The DitchRider in the left-hand sidebar. Poems early in the series are archived under "previous post" at the bottom of The DitchRider blog.

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Comment by cc on April 4, 2010 at 10:18am
Margaret - thanks for sharing this premonition through your artful words. It expresses a core of dread about our world's fragile health that I keep at bay and know many others do as well. The act of looking at it in community that you present is crucial.
Comment by Richard V on April 4, 2010 at 1:15pm
wise words, my friend, as always. it's all connected. all of it.
Comment by Margaret Randall on April 11, 2010 at 9:40am
Well, Ben, its always happening somewhere I guess. Would rather be a poet than this sort of a visionary. But thanks for noticing...
Comment by Gina M on April 12, 2010 at 11:04am
I have been having vivd dreams in recent months....the sequence of life in tiny scenes playing out in swirling visions / feelings / imaginings.....I really liked the last few lines:
The dream cuts my stalk
to the ground
threatens its bravest roots:
a warning I hold in hands
that grip the bed sheets as I wake.

It was wonderful to read your poem, "Brazil is the First to Fade".
Comment by Georgia Santa-Maria on April 15, 2010 at 1:20pm
Love "the shameful habit of relief"--wonderful, and frightening, poem.
Comment by Merimee Moffitt on May 23, 2010 at 1:08pm
Margaret, this is brave and necessary. My personal environmentalists don't dream these events, but foresee them through charts, numbers, prophesies in science-- Only miracles, supernatural and divinely inspired and guided will save chunks of land we take for granted. "The shameful habit of relief" is about to go cold turkey. Thanks for your thoughtful poem. I appreciate it and will post it to FB.
Comment by Poet Oishi on May 23, 2010 at 2:09pm
Margaret, like I said in that introduction some time ago: all poets are poets, some poets are prophets. Like it or not, you are both. Bless you! We need you.


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