Semi-formal poem: ‘Thin Thin Skin’

Life on the earth is thin as dust on an apple.
25,000 miles round the planet, and if we go 2 miles high
we struggle to breathe, claw at the air, fight it, grapple.
25,000 miles round the planet, mostly sea
and if sea levels rise a foot, whole communities are lost
and if a storm gives 10 foot waves, houses and lives are lost.
We live on the thin thin skin of the earth.
Is the soil three inches deep, or a foot, or five?
Can we grow enough to survive?
We live on that thin thin skin of dirt.
And people too are fragile, their bones, organs, held in
by their thin thin skin. A knife,
a bullet, even too much sun,
will break the thin thin skin and drain the life.
And society too is fragile, with too many knives and guns,
too little respect for sun, ocean, climate change;
too many people with a thin thin skin
leading their ignorant people into the razorwire of unpredicted change.

*****

This poem was originally published in Lighten-Up Online (or LUPO) last year – thanks, Jerome Betts! It’s not really a formal poem, though there are some rhymes. As for the subject matter, all I can say is: If you haven’t run across the delightful XKCD graphic of the past 12,000 years of temperature change, please click here!

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages: A middle school science teacher explains a lesson on climate change using a SMART board. Copyright CC BY-NC 4.0

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