In mourning for Mother Earth

Still six weeks before the beginning of summer in Australia and the big, slick, shiny city of Sydney is ringed by devastating bushfires. Hundreds of houses have been burnt to the ground, millions of lives lost — native and domestic animals, insects, birds, reptiles, trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers, entire ecosystems — and almost certainly some humans too, once the cost is fully counted. For the fires are still raging, and there are more very hot days to come before a cool change arrives.

Yet our newly elected prime minister, climate change denier to the devastating end, is fighting to repeal the carbon tax, even in the face of overwhelming support for climate change action by most other world leaders.

My daughter and I cried as we watched the evening news last night. Not so many years ago, we lived in a suburb where only the courage and tenacity of RFS volunteers with their trucks and helicopters saved houses from burning down. When yesterday’s afternoon sun glowed blood red in a filthy yellow-grey sky and ash dropped on our suburban balcony and the smell of smoke was everywhere, the memories sprang back to life.

The best fighting tool I have is my writing. Yet I’m struggling to find a compassionate counterbalance to my sadness and despair. For many decades, aware of human-accelerated global warming, millions of people have been living mindfully, and fighting and campaigning in defence of the Earth and her exquisitely balanced life-nurturing systems; and yet the wilful ignorance, inward-looking selfishness and greed of many millions of others have allowed us to arrive at the shocking situation we are now in.

I know that despair achieves nothing useful; nor does accusation or negativity. And so I search for glimpses of the bigger picture to distil into poetry in the hope that this might shift the consciousness of even one person in power; buoy the optimism of even one person who loves the Earth and all her life forms.


tear-streaked ashen cheeks —
fires floods tempests — our dear Earth
struggles for balance


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5 Responses to In mourning for Mother Earth

  1. Angie Moore says:

    A passionate, moving plea for sanity in an insane world, Desney.

  2. Eloquent, dear Desney, and so sad. I think of Joanna Macy, Buddhist teacher and deep ecologist, who teaches something called ‘despair work.’ How we must acknowledge the anguish we carry, often unconsciously, for the earth we have so harmed–and loved–before we can find the strength to either bring about change or, if it is too late, to properly mourn–with dignity and love. A profound time for us all.

  3. Avril says:

    Dear Desney,

    Unfortunately I have seen stonewalled deniers too invested in their defended negative mindset to listen to pleas from the heart. In sour disdain they dismiss emotion as irrational, and with the same flick of the wrist dismiss science that disagrees with their arrogant self-righteousness. Well may we weep.

    Our tears flow for the earth and all her passengers, while change within the hearts of the obdurate remains a chancy elusive burnt feather on the wind.

    Blessed be.

  4. marie brooks says:

    How stunningly beautifully expressed and moving Des. It was a sad day, so many lives lost so many families devasted and their memories destroyed. We hope more will wake up to believing in climate change and living their lives accordingly. We also pray that parents and care givers are more diligent and responsible supervising their children so they are not selfishly involved in destructive acts of looting and starting more bush fires.

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