This month I have been writing poems in response to the ideas, connections and echoes between All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson and Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. I’ve focused more on Rooted and the fundamental beliefs, or tenets, that are at the heart of rootedness. Like countless poets and scientists before her, Haupt knows that “poetry and science intermingle.” They “bring depth and knowing to one another–all mingle as co-expressions of a wild earth.” (p.24)
Poets and scientists have been inspired by the mysteries of the universe since the dawn of time. All living creatures are guided by the natural cycle of light and dark created by earth’s rotation and orbit around the sun. But we are disrupting these rhythms by leaving the lights on. Mounting evidence makes clear that this disruption is harmful both physically and mentally to humans, plants, and animals. The International Dark Sky Association has declared this week “Dark Sky Week.” There are simple steps we can all do to eliminate much of the light pollution that threatens us. Let’s start by turning off the lights.
Once guided by the stars above
we’ve lost our celestial map,
its compass rose
erased by bright skyglow.
Warblers, winging northward,
confused by all this light,
are steered off course,
crash into glass and steel
instead of settling into soft nests.
Creatures of the night exposed:
No shadows to hide in
or darkness alerting frogs
and toads its time
to serenade their sweethearts.
One more balance we’ve disrupted.
Another threat to harm us all.
How will we find our way forward
if we look up and see nothing,
nothing at all?
Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022
Previous NPM Posts:
Day 10: The Cosmos
Day 9: The Fox
Day 8: A Haiku
Day 7: Ode to an April Morning
Day 6: Wander
Day 5: For the Good of the Earth
Day 4: Enchantment and Wonder
Day 3: Reciprocity
Day 2: Kith and Kin
Day 1: The Thing Is
Please be sure to visit Jone Rush MacCulloch’s blog for the Poetry Friday Roundup.
6 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & NPM: Skyglow”
This is a beautifully crafted poem, Catherine, with another powerful message. That final question is jarring.
I think a lot of people, me included, forget this effect of modern electrified light–although I did write that poem blaming everything on Edison! You’ve shown the effects on the small and the “great,” hauntingly.
This poem calls to mind a visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where in full dark, it seems you can see ALL the stars. Nice poem!
beautiful lament, Catherine; I’ve been in a handful of cities and town that have committed to remaining more dark than light at night and it is a notable difference! I split my time between deserts and mountains and am so grateful for the lower amounts of night-light in these places.
Hubby and I both read AN ODE TO DARKNESS by Sigri Sandberg. Highly recommended. Great mix of history and memoir.
Every little thing we humans do has huge repercussions. We HAVE to start thinking about ourselves as PART of the planet and not the owners of the planet.
I lament with you. Although I love finding the word “star” here, I’m sad about how “we” have lost our way. When I go home, I soak in the country skies. They are so beautiful. I heard a great story on NPR last week, I think about a city out west that is actually a “dark sky” city. It’s not that difficult. It just takes thought…and some poetry. Thank you, Catherine.