Mere Words

We are elephants climbing trees

Heaving great piles of words against the tide

Watching them wash away, horrified

Hurling weighty thinkpieces into the flood

As if our grand thoughts can stop brute protoplasm

The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword

But not the cudgel

The blunt stone against the head of civilization

That which is built can be burned

Anyone making anything new

Only breaks something else

Have we, in fact

Been building the world’s biggest bonfire

All this time

And now

Seeing such a stack of tinder and fuel

We cannot help ourselves

From setting it alight

I suppose I thought

For too long

That we were building something else

A library

A storehouse of wisdom

A springboard from which to transcend

And become more than we started from

But alas

Nature calls to us

The animal DNA deep inside


Dominate, trample

Take, use

The world is a tool

Made only for us

Our sharp minds, nimble hands

We were made to unmake the world as we found it

And we do

Day by day

Until there is no world left to mold

No oxygen to breathe

No fish to eat

No defense against our darkest selves

I have my books

And my poetry to protect me

I cry, with the sages of old

Knowing what they knew

That my island is illusory

The bully laughs and lights another match

Read this, he says

And the world is given back over

To the beasts

Perhaps, in the end

A bigger brain is not a survival advantage

Let the cockroaches have their day

Unless we have the stomach

To make our pretty words into swords

If we do not


We had a good run

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