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Sunday, May 26, 2019


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

A common bumble bee found in the Appalachians. Photo: Kelly Graninger/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Popular Science.

A May morning
More like January.
I sit on the bench in front of the house
Brooding about the unseasonable weather
And looming climate catastrophe,
Wondering what it will mean
For our children and grandchildren,
For the children and grandchildren
Of all humanity.
Wondering if we will be able
To overcome the depredations
Of the mad, greedy bastards
Pumping ppms into the atmosphere
Day and night without pause,
With lethal, sociopathic glee,
Setting loose the wild dogs
Of hurricane and tornado, flood and fire
In order to stuff their greasy pockets
With mere money,
Not much good when everyone’s gone.
Too late is almost here.
Will we beat the carbon clock
Or will we all be Ishis,
The last of our tribes?
And what about these fat black bees
I’m watching right now as they traffic
In the rosemary and jasmine
By the front porch steps?
Will they be able to adapt
To some fierce, inhospitable new normal?
Or will they follow countless other species
Out the door?
I dream of a fine May morning
A hundred or a thousand years from now
When our descendants
Will be lazing
In hammocks and lawn chairs
Appreciating the thrum and buzz
Of apian activity
As the heirs of these earnest little toilers
Arrive at the job site—
Blossoming rosemary bushes and jasmine vines—
Wide awake, scrubbed and shiny,
Ready for work.

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film Outside In and, with the MIRC film collective, made the film Por Que Venimos. His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California.