Thoughts at the End of Empire

by Scott T. Starbuck

It’s possible future generations will destroy
our art, literature, music, film,
and corporations, in bitterness
for allowing ecosystem collapse,

and mistrust for how many leaders
were distracted, apathetic, selfish
ignorant, or insane with money and power.

It’s possible future generations will redefine
family, community, work, value, happiness,
life, dirt, success.

It’s possible education will change
from locking children in boxes
to getting them outside in tide pools,
rivers, creeks, deserts, mountains

and their community of remaining
mammals, birds, fish, amphibians,
invertebrates, reptiles, plants, trees.

It’s also possible, based on our collective
behavior, there won’t be future generations.

Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist and co-creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College. His ecoblog, Trees, Fish, and Dreams, with audio poems, is at His books, Carbonfish BluesIndustrial Oz, and Hawk on Wire, are available at Fomite Press. Here’s his Yale Climate Connections interview.

Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist. His books are Industrial Oz: Ecopoems, noted by Bill McKibben as “rousing, needling, haunting,” Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems, available at Fomite Press (preferred) and Amazon.