The Last Bird


8 June 2014

A sunset so brilliant was never seen
except in times so long in the past
that none had arisen who could have been
witness to the splendour of the cosmic blast
whence came the rock from which we crawled.

Once we crawled we grew in numbers
and walked across lands we overthrew
with tools gripped firmly with opposable thumbs
directed by the gift of language we knew
and which captured our visions of self grandeur.

From tree to tent, then manor and castle
we swept aside all impediment to progress,
seduced by dreams, we never thought to ask
who invented the myth and sought to impress
our small minds with the blight of Dominion.

“Go forth and multiply”, and surely we did,
until our lands bulged with the ominous
spread of our awful numbers that undid
the glory of our Dominion and saw us push
perilously and mindlessly towards Oblivion.

Our economist luminaries misinterpreted the Smith
who forged a social theory that they turned to myth,
All that mattered was capital and economic growth
which we measured in ignorance without taking note
of the cost of fouled soil,waters and air,
But we kept using more without a care.

Still our numbers grew ever more, every where,
We tore out forests and covered the land in brick
and our rubble and filth befouled sea and air
making species by thousands wretchedly sick.

Flora and fauna disappeared day by day.
Many called out that all could not withstand,
but still our leaders extolled the Economic way
“More people, more growth”, was their demand.

Species died or retreated fearing our relentless spread,
but still we continued, self-absorbed in gross hubris.
We continued taking and using ’till the sea was dead,
but still all that mattered was the money of big business. 

They told our governments what they could do
and dictated to poor workers what was their lot;
yet some cried out said it was time to say ‘No’,
but with money to make, the powers said ‘Not’.

We poured more poisons into the ground and air
and our politicians replied that they did not care,
for this they called Progress, and the poisoned sod
was the sacrifice demanded by The Economy god.

The land was dying and refused to produce food
sufficient for vast numbers on the crowded planet.
‘Supply less than demand, this is must be good’,
gloated those who turned this into a junket.

But the land finally died and creation began to fail,
and as the globe warmed, chaos replaced seasons;
The rich waved their slogans and money to no avail,
ignorant and too selfish to comprehend the reasons.

As birds fell from the air, monetarists said ‘more growth’;
so far were their perceptions removed from reality,
impenetrable to the consequences of their oath
sworn to The Economy that demanded their fealty.

With their dying breaths they cried to their gods,
‘Why did we deserve this; what did we wrong?’
That only Silence answered, they thought was odd
But on dead ears the Universe would not waste song.

A sunset so brilliant was never seen
except in times so far in the past
when the red dust was not poison
and this time of beauty not the last.

The splendour and colour belies the tale of destruction
and failure to accept the Environment’s instruction,
as I sit and absorb this sunset last.

All are gone, all round the planet
Man, beast, fish and bird,
Sweet memories of beauty past.

For a moment I hear,
a song sweet and clear—
and think ’The last bird’

Silence follows and says,
‘You were given Dominion
and you brought Oblivion!’

And the sweet song stops,
a pure note, the last ever.

And the light fades
on a creature thought Clever.

©2014 Peter Frank Thompson


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