Well I had a lovely lady wife, I cannot that deny
With hair as soft as spider’s silk and honey in her song
But it appears that destiny and me have gone far wrong
For as you’ll hear in coming verse; away from me she flies.
It started with a suppertime aglow with candlelight
The fire in her eyes did burn; I carried her to bed
Her river swept me off my feet, and from the tide I fled
I pushed her to the iron floor to freeze through th’ wintery night.
Next morn her kiss on bluejay’s wings poured sunlight through my breast
She asked for my apology as the morning oatmeal stewed
And in a sudden surge of greed, I seized her lips of red
Pulled off her mouth, just like an apple from a tree of flesh.
I wandered to the forest deep to reconstruct my mind
Her lips had crumbled in my hand and seared like earth’s hot blood
The birds were screaming in the trees; I shot the ones I could
No need to say, throughout the day, no peace was ever mine.
At suppertime when I returned to my mouthless maiden fair
Her hair it glowed so golden that I feared some earthly ghost
Had her possessed, and in my best intentions I did send
A bullet right into her head, she crumpled like Autumn.
The pool of blood I had to cross to swim to my sweet love
(Or what was left of her at least, by that point nothing recognizable)
The hail of tears that pounded in my eyes did blind my hands
I reached across to piece together the shattered masterpiece divine, but my hands couldn’t find the right pieces and I was drowning in unidentified liquids and her heart it did fly away on the wings of a silvery sailfin, calling out for a better mate perhaps in Heaven’s ether.
When consciousness returned to me the ground was clean as new
Gone was the bloody ocean and my mangled lady fair
And yet a strange thing happened; there was stillness in the air
Death hung on the horizon with the rising of the moon.
I could not sleep without her arms, my bed was toxic coal
And so I went outside to freeze on the polystyrene lawn
The grass was torn like broken isles, the trees were all but gone
The world it flew from my warring love; now pain is all I know.
The rhythm and tone of this poem is inspired by the haunting folk ballads of Joan Baez, particularly The Lily of the West. The topic is inspired by the strange abusive love between humanity and the earth upon which it depends. I highly recommend reading the section on climate change solutions in the January/February 2016 issue of MIT Technology Review for further necessary anxiety.
Image credits in order of appearance:
By Digital Eye – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42836696
By Henry Mühlpfordt – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1393975
By Yathin S Krishnappa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons