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Monday, July 08, 2019


by Darrell Petska

Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and mimimise the risk of social collapse.

 "It's the least I can do." Into my ears,
starving bees hived. Deep in my lungs
nested gun-shy doves.

In droves came reeling beetles and butterflies,
evicted toads and frogs—these to my heart's
several chambers, while in the burrowed
turnings of my gut, bait-sick
gophers and ground hogs found refuge.

"It's the least I can do." Lodgeless muskrats
and beavers sheltered in the round
huts of my armpits, harried owls and hawks
took to my shoulders, even swooning
flowers and trees I drew to my nostrils.

I took all in, as many as I could, and still
others pressed near, threatened and sore,
until at last I cried "I've done all I can!"

Oh, but then my grandchildren came running:
"Grandpapa, Grandpapa, save us!"
Into my arms my loved ones curled,
soft and vulnerable, and I realized
much more I yet could do.

My feet stepped forth, driven by the lives
within and about me, all earth becoming
my flesh and its waters my blood.
No fears of failure could enter my mind
when life, lived large or small, is all we have.

At the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. "We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary—we are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change."

Darrell Petska, a Wisconsin poet, sees hope in concerted action for a livable planet. His five grandchildren make that effort ever-more urgent.