The Great Grief

This more-than-personal sadness is what I call the “Great Grief”—a feeling that rises in us as if from the Earth itself…. that our individual grief and emotional loss can actually be a reaction to the decline of our air, water, and ecology
—Per Espen Stoknes

 

As plastic smothers
Oceans and forests miss trees
I grieve with you, Dear
We drink polluted water—
“Ethics of entanglement”

*

Your mother performed
Absence so you do not know
Limits to desire
Whenever you face the loss
Of dolphins a void hammers

*

Drought in the desert
Cut through the cactus to see
Interior as dry
As the cracked sod surrounding
You, for whom no one sheds tears

*

When dinosaurs ruled
Skies rarely lapsed to yellows
King Midas’ false gold
Within a blue, velvet box
Your pearls become small citrons

*

When the ocean grieves
Its anguish can’t be discerned
Water swallows tears
I insist the faucet broke
Spraying my cheeks with non-tears

*

Where waterfalls end
Your face welcomes the cool spray
You admire beauty
From wet silver eroding
Mountains aware of their death

*

Storm season arrives
Snow falls beyond the window
Whitening the world
Yet its lack of sound cancels
Belief—as if worlds don’t fall

*

Black cat against night
Against thoughts as the world burns
Like children playing
Hide-and-seek in parks so bright
No one stumbled on omens

*

“Despair for the world”
Grew, leading him to water
Floating on the lake
He waits for peace, not knowing
Hunters shot the great heron

*

We’d grimly thinned trees
To prepare for winter’s winds
But the leaves still fell
Tree limbs still broke. How did we
Come to trust preparation?

 

 

Eileen R. Tabios

Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in 10 countries. Her books include a form-based “Selected Poems” series: The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019, THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL: Selected Visual Poetry (2001-2019), INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New 1996-2015, and THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New 1998-2010. In 2020 she also releases a new short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora (Paloma Press). Translated into ten languages, she has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com  Eileen recommends the charity German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, July 2, 2018 - 11:04