Archives for posts with tag: ecosystems

Eating the Earth
by CR Green

The runway is set for banqueting.
As in every beginning, I am tempted.
For years I have consumed the elements:
viscose, polyester, nylon, rayon, spandex,

100 % linen, cottons. The blends slop
& swill, now fall through my swollen fingers.
I have walked ramps quickly while our only
Home—this baby blue—still rocks & rolls.

I have tried to devour it all before hunger
passed its use-by date. But will other faraway
eyes find nutrients in these packed, piled flavours,
dissolve sweet strata of silk stripes & rainbows,

bolting calicos, four changes of seasoned jerseys,
jacketed mountains of savory pants & pantaloons?
Can they absorb any vitamins from frozen paisley
frocks, from satin sewn by tiny hands?

Can they digest shrinking timelines of marbled
chiffon? Can another generation make perfume
from melting Pavlovian laces alongside baked
Alaskan velveteens waiting to set oceans

of carbonated crepe on fire? During the intermission,
let my tongue polish every sinking island until this
present chaos shines so bright an audience of angels
stares. I can hear their wings idling now.

Let them look deep into my core. Let me hear
what they are saying about the days left to eat:
Count them. They are precious.
                                               They are numbered. 

PHOTO: Floating Textiles by pixabay.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after experiencing Ruth Watson´s Geophagy following RikTheMost´s Spoken Word Workshop at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch, New Zealand, February, 2018. Greta Thunberg says, ¨The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate-and-ecological emergency, not to mention its impact on the countless workers and communities who are being exploited around the world in order for some to enjoy fast fashion that many treat as disposables.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CR Green is an American-Kiwi living and writing from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Her short stories and poetry have been published in such diverse places as The Loyalhanna Review (Pennsylvania), The Reach of Song (Georgia), The Poetry Distillery (New York State), Drawn to the Light (Ireland), and a fine line (New Zealand). One of her poems was recently shortlisted for the New Zealand Poetry Society´s Literary Heritage Awards. Visit her at and on Facebook.

by Erina Booker

“Accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.”
Tao Te Ching, 63

I’ve found a prized space
in my new apartment block
it’s called the Rubbish Room,
bins in line along the walls
varied coloured lids for diverse junk
red: biodegradables
blue: cardboard and paper
yellow: glass, plastic, foil, and cans

garbage trucks measure
reject bins with mixed contents
accept only those correctly loaded

I winnow garbage like chaff from grain
separate plastic from cardboard tissue boxes
staples from documents
paper labels from cans

a dance of the bins begins
I turn and lift, dip from one to the other
criss-cross the room
clang percussive lids
sort mistakes so all will be accepted
by the maw of haulage

I spin this straw to gold
protect respect
this piece of
precious planet Earth.

©Erina Booker

PAINTING: Grandmother’s Country by Michelle Possum Nungurrayi.

Rubbish Room

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As far back as I remember, I have experienced  a deep connection with, and responsibility to, the natural world. Many incidents have become the “touchstones” of my life. Though I had wanted to write about my part in healing the natural world, I was drawn to the new experience of having, in my recent, downsized home,  a designated room for garbage, sorted into recycling bins. From childhood, over six decades ago, I was taught to dispose of rubbish into designated places, never to throw rubbish from car windows, and not litter the environment. Now, the disposal of rubbish has even greater significance. This led me to write a poem on this subject.

Erina for Silver Birch 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Erina Booker is a poet based on Sydney, Australia. Her life revolves around poetry, from publishing books and contributing to journals, to recitals at public events and presentations at seminars. She actively supports poetry in her local community. Erina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Composition as well as a Graduate Degree in Counseling. She knows the value of words and the pauses between them.

The Wind No Longer Whispers
                        After William Stafford

by Carol A. Stephen

The long howl of an ancient wolf envelops sound,
as its final exhale sends a chill rebounding from the moon.

Every bird goes silent,
every church bell, every choir.
Each newborn baby, born mouth open
in a silent mourn.

Rivers run voiceless over rocks, no longer
chortle along their etched route among the stones
of the ages. New hatchlings, mouthing a call for food,
shatter no silences. The wind no longer whispers
among shivering leaves. The world, without its voice,
sheds tears. No one hears a sound.

The earth begins to tremble, summoning the grass.
She prays to the sky to send its morning moisture,
to bathe her flowers once more in gentle rain.
The clouds, gathered above, begin softly to weep.

Below, there is a stirring. Below, at last, all
the voiceless things begin to sing in the voices
of grass, in the voices of flowers, of morning dew,
and in the gentle whisper of green mornings.

PAINTING: The Beautiful Morning by Arthur Corpora (1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Wind No Longer Whispers” started as a workshop poem, based on a prompt given by poet Lorna Crozier, and based on William Stafford’s children’s book, The Animal that Drank Up Sound. I wanted the poem to reflect, first, how mankind has tried to silence the Earth and her many voices, and then to show how the Earth holds the possibility to regenerate, should we allow her to do so.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol A. Stephen poetry appears in Poetry Is Dead, June 2017, and numerous print publications, including Wintergreen Studios chapbooks, Sound Me When I’m Done, and Teasing the Tongue. Online poems appear at Silver Birch Press, Topology Magazine, The Light Ekphrastic, and With Painted Words. Carol won Third prize in the CAA National Capital Writing Contest, and was featured in Tree’s Hot Ottawa Voices. She served on the board for Canadian Authors Association-NCR and co-directed Ottawa’s Tree Reading Series. Carol has five chapbooks, two released in 2018: Unhook (catkin press, Carleton Place) and Lost Silence of the Small (Local Gems Press, Long Island, New York).  In 2019, Winning the Lottery, Surviving Clostridium Difficile was published by Crowe Currently, she is working on the manuscript for her first full-length poetry collection, as well as a collection about birds of the Corvidae family and their friends.

Extreme Weather
by Dina Elenbogen

The border says stop to the wind but the wind speaks another
language and keeps going
                                             Alberto Rios

They removed the fence that separates waves
from people walking There’s nothing between us

and water turning like oceans of larger coasts
The day we didn’t dig my uncle’s grave

a Derecho swept the shores
of Lake Michigan uprooted

ancient Maples American Ash
We ran against the darkening sky

sheltered indoors and watched
from a safe distance

His ashes danced
the rhythms of distant waters

They call it erosion when waves take
more than they give back

swallow the sand beneath our feet
If you walk away

from the lake towards the shadows
of hundred-year-old homes

you’ll see ladders still leaning
towards the roofs that failed

when hail bombarded us in April
the night before the holiday of plagues

We tried to collect ourselves and the shards
that landed in our gardens

Hands still raw from March winds
we planted against tyranny

and later gathered zucchini
tomatoes and basil

There were seeds that promised
to sprout but lay dormant

We watered throughout July’s drought
nodded at neighbors through cloth

masks and gloved knuckles
We kept turning the earth planting milkweed

next to dreams
of an ordinary life

It’s autumn and time
to remove the tangled roots

of what no longer bears fears
I had meant to write fruit What

no longer bears
fruit but fear accompanies

every gesture
I am writing to tell you that skies change suddenly

roots that seem deep can be lifted
by November wind

Listen closely nearby is the water
we call life

Previously published in December magazine (Fall/Winter 2021).

PHOTO: Lake Michigan waves by Jill Wellington.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dina Elenbogen, a widely published and award-winning poet and prose writer, is author of the memoir Drawn from Water (BKMk Press, University of Missouri) and the poetry collection Apples of the Earth (Spuyten Duyvil, NY). Her work has appeared in anthologies, including Fury: Women’s Lived Experience During the Trump Era (Regal Books, 2020) City of the Big Shoulders (University of Iowa Press), Beyond Lament (Northwestern University Press), Where We Find Ourselves (SUNYPress), Rust Belt Chicago Anthology, and magazines and journals, including Lit Hub, December magazine, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Bellevue Literary Review, Woven Tale Press, Tiferet, Tikkun, Paterson Literary Review, Connecticut River Review, New City Chicago, and the Chicago Reader. The recipient of fellowships in poetry and prose from the Illinois Arts Council and the Ragdale Foundation, she has a poetry MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago Graham School, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dina also consults individually with writers on creative projects. Visit her at

The Seeker
by Myra Dutton

At first we think
the path to wisdom
is tedious
as if we were rolling
the planet uphill.
But what we find
is that Mother Earth
is capable of anything
as she spins us
on a potter’s wheel.

PAINTING: Circular Forms by Robert Delaunay (1930).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Seeker” was written on one of my many walks through the national forest that surrounds the mountain town where I live.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Myra Dutton is the author of Healing Ground: A Visionary Union of Earth and Spirit (Ten Speed Press), an NAR book finalist for New Age Retailer Magazine. She is the founder of the Evolutionary Poets Theater in Idyllwild, California, writes literary columns in the Riverside Press-Enterprise and The Sun for Inlandia Institute, and is the poetry curator for The Idyllwild Life Magazine.

2008-4 thin ice
by Barbara Eknoian

The polar bears
are drowning
off the coast of Alaska
swimming eighty miles
to find seals.
It’s the Big Melt,
the CNN announcer says,
and walrus pups swim
without their mother,
they can’t keep up
with her search for food.
The camera pans in
on lean polar bears
desperately eating
birds and berries
on their way
to extinction.
The polar bears
are drowning
off the coast of Alaska.

PAINTING: Thin ice by Oleksandr Hnylyzkyj (2008).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was originally published in 2006 by New Verse News. Sadly, the climate situation with the Big Melt has worsened. With the world now calling attention to the severity of our climate problems, hopefully, it can improve. As Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist says, “When enough people come together, then change will come, and we can achieve almost anything.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian is a grandmother of five, and is praying for solutions to our climate change. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Pearl, Red Shift, Your Daily Poem, and New Verse News. Her poetry book, Why I Miss New Jersey, and her latest novel, Hearts on Bergenline Avenue, are available at Amazon. Her poetry chapbook, Life Is But a Dream, was published by Arroyo Seco Press.

How to take a lizard seriously
by Michelle D’costa

There’s a lizard outside
that closely watches everything and everyone

How the sky has changed colour
on Diwali
How the trees have disappeared
to make space for the metro
How we still use plastic
in many ways
How humans want offspring
despite knowing what we’re getting into

The lizard is at a safe distance from us
Only when it gets inside

will we do something
as lizards are known to fall into open vessels
they are supposed to be poisonous
or so our ancestors have claimed

We are yet to test that theory

PAINTING: Lizard by M.C. Escher (1937).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The most common reactions to our climate crisis are denial and indifference. I wanted to capture how we still don’t take the climate crisis seriously. I used the metaphor of the lizard to show the proximity of doom and how people don’t bother as long as a lizard is not too close. Even when the lizard gets closer, they still might not react because they’ve heard about its potential toxicity for quite some time and are immune to the warnings. I also wanted to capture the feeling of being “watched” or “being held accountable” for our actions.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle D’costa is a Mangalorean from Mumbai, India, who was born and raised in Bahrain. Gulf (Yavanika Press, 2021) is her debut poetry chapbook. She co-hosts the author interview podcast Books and Beyond With Bound.  Her fiction and poetry can be found in a variety of journals, including Litro UK, Berfrois, and Out Of Print.  Her poetry was longlisted for the TOTO Award For Creative Writing 2021. She loves teaching and mentoring writers. Find more of her work at

by Sheikha A.

for Aine MacAodha

We are nowhere near higher knowing —
the planes of the earth’s aura — mounds
of rise and fall of land and water, we travel
towards an oasis through mazes of carbon;
and we plant for trees to save our migration —
the mountains to stop breaking. Falling birds
and floating fish have traversed the desperate
colours exuding gradient of black and grey —
while our hairs turn white; we age like fruits
plucked off trees raw, further from knowing.

We are close to knowing — our feet edge
inwards to the choked trilling of silence —
our habitat converses and winds carry
their whispers telling us to wake up
from the lore of complacency; the wild
bushes’ receding glimmer. There will be
an end some day, everything up in smoke;
but at this time that hasn’t begun ceasing
and auras keep pulsing, we need to save us
an energy to return to long after we are over.

PAINTING: Nature of Nature by Jeremy Henderson (2004).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I believe all beings on this planet are connected somehow, whether tangibly (in the sense of physical proximity) or telepathically (with people we’ve never met). Just today, I learnt of the demise of someone I knew on social media as a brilliant poet. From a favour this person did to me without even knowing who I was, out of nowhere, the thought of her crossed my mind leading me to check her profile to learn of her passing away. Point being, as we age there is a craving for superior knowledge that takes over us — the wanting to know the beyond. And, in seeking, we realise the answers are right here in the environment, be it people or flora or fauna or plain nature to which we never paid any attention, and if we had, we’d realise how much of what’s inside us doesn’t find healing because what’s outside of us — the air and water and land and food, etc. — is clogging and suffocating. Ultimately, we’ll be facing threats greater than what we aren’t perceiving right now. Our future generations may be forced to morph with the speed of anthropological advances depriving them the beauty of slow momentum — they probably won’t know of the beauty of nature we experienced because the earth will have probably changed by the time they exist, and through them we’d have lost the thread of post-existing too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications include Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Silver Birch Press, and Abyss and Apex. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Albanian, Italian, Arabic, Polish, and Persian. She is the co-author of a digital poetry chapbook entitled Nyctophiliac Confessions available through Praxis Magazine. Find more of her work at

by Mish Murphy

I was afraid to become green,
but glad to be reborn.

I sewed my torn self together
& waited for the cravings
to go away—
the urge to eat, procreate, shop–

I sewed myself inside a bucket, & you,
my favorite candy,
my voluptuous freckle,

I sewed you inside my bucket, too.

We were changing,
half-plant & half human.

We drank sunlight
through our hands

& slurped seawater
through our feet,

gradually releasing

all our thoughts




ACKNOWLEDGMENT: “Green” was originally published (with slightly different language) in the author’s collection Sex & Ketchup (Concrete Mist Press 2021) and in POETICA REVIEW (UK 2021).

PAINTING: Woman in a Green Dress in a Garden by Pierre Bonnard (1892).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What would happen if people who wanted to “go green” could become hybrid plants, replacing our stressed-out consumerist selves with simpler, eco-friendly selves? I think many would find that being transformed into a plant brought happiness, and if enough people “went green,” the Earth would heal. The speaker in the poem alludes to the fact that plants do not do a lot of thinking, and to become green, people must let go of thinking. This would turn out to be something positive and is one reason, in my opinion, that life as a plant might bring such peace.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mish (Eileen) Murphy is Associate Poetry Editor for Cultural Daily magazine and teaches English and Literature at Polk State College, Florida. She recently published her third book of poetry (fourth book overall), the collection Sex & Ketchup (Concrete Mist Press Feb. 2021). Fortune Written on Wet Grass (Wapshott Press April 2020) was her first full length collection. Her second book Evil Me was published August 2020 (Blood Pudding Press). She’s had more than 100 individual poems published in journals and zines, such as Tinderbox, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Thirteen Myna Birds, and many others. In the UK, her poetry has been published in Paper & Ink, The Open Mouse, Quarterday Review, and POETICA REVIEW. Mish also is a prolific book reviewer and visual artist; she illustrated the children’s book Phoebe and Ito are dogs written by John Yamrus (2019).

Mourn for the Earth
by Ann Christine Tabaka

dangling by a string
beneath an ink-blot sky
arcing overheard
all around
silence falls

a dying world lifts its eyes to heaven
praying for another chance
circumstances beyond its control
have doomed it slave to mortal man

apathy and neglect
march across earth’s form
eons of greed
scar its surface

time passes
the blight of transgressions advance
beyond atonement
beyond repair

the world stands still once again
the quiet is so deafening
that a breath cannot be heard
above the calm of mourning

Previously published by Pomona Valley Review, August 2021.

PAINTING: Mourning Story by Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1991).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. Winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020 and 2021, published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 14 poetry books. She lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are Sparks of Calliope, The Closed Eye Open, Poetic Sun, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, The Scribe Magazine, The Phoenix, Burningword Literary Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Silver Blade, Pomona Valley Review, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Fourth & Sycamore. Visit her at Find links to her work here.