Tag Archives: poetry

And People Stayed Home

“And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.”

This was written in March 2020
by Catherine (Kitty) O’Meara, from Madison, Wisconsin

Fact v Fiction: “And The People Stayed Home” Viral Poem By Kitty O’Meara (2020),
Not Kathleen O’Meara (1869)

Untitled

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans

Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed 
merry-go-round to a halt.
We will stop
the planes
the trains
the schools
the malls
the meetings
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa,China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Stop.
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Ask why.
Stop. Just stop.
Be still.
Listen.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.

  ~ Kristin Flyntz, 3.12.2020

YouTube reading of the poem

2007 Logos

by Scott T. Starbuck

When I complain to the old man 
about rising gas prices,
he says “I want $10 a gallon.”

“Why?” is the obvious question.
“Because I love birds,” he says.

At the time, I thought him insane
but now I think most everyone else is.


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 riverseek.blogspot.com. 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.

How We Stopped Corporate Psychopaths from Cooking Planet Earth

For Mary DeMocker

By Scott T. Starbuck

We planted trees everywhere at once.
Facebook posted only the words “Go outside.”

“Destroy Your Television Day” grew more popular 
than Xmas and the 4th of July.

Children of execs saw themselves as global citizen
sand despite every temptation and distraction

disowned their wayward parents.
ExxonMobil became BlueOrbSolar.

Each country committed to saving 
one thing from extinction — them.

People wondered why it took so long.


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 riverseek.blogspot.com. His books, Carbonfish BluesIndustrial Oz, and Hawk on Wire, are available at Fomite Press. Here’s his Yale Climate Connections interview.

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 riverseek.blogspot.com. 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.

Wind Spirit

by Scott T. Starbuck

Wind Spirit said to the man, “I will ask a question, and each day you give the wrong answer,
I will take a finger. The question is hard, requiring much reflection, and self-purification.
I don’t know how many fingers you will lose. That is up to you.
How will you save the community of species on Earth?”

“The question is too hard,” protested the man.

“It has been ordained,” said Wind Spirit, “and cannot be changed. I will return tomorrow at noon.”

The man knew coyote was smart so he went to ask, but all coyotes were dead.

He knew king salmon had a bright red soul so he went to ask, but all king salmon were dead.

He knew steelhead trout could leap waterfalls so he went to ask, but all steelhead trout were dead.

He knew eagle had unerring vision so he went to ask, but all eagles were dead.

Trembling, he knew cougar could be invisible, but all cougars were dead.

In ten days, the man lost all his fingers.

This is a parable written on what remains of the ancient Pleistocene Lake Chewaucan now called Summer Lake, Oregon.

Published in the Amsterdam Quarterly
Writing and art in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the world

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 riverseek.blogspot.com. 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.