Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Society of Hornbills

Today is the World Thinking Day. The theme this year is on “Environment”.
Here’s my attempt.


What happens when a society
That is keen on self-destruction
Poison the air that they breathe
In the name of civilization?

What happens to the collective wisdom
Of a society that kills and plunders
Chocking the soil that sustains life
Drying up the waters that quenches its thirst?

What happens to the children
Who, being told “protect the environment”,
Witness with horror their parents
Throw waste into public spaces?

Sadly, our society has become
The proverbial hornbill that was warned
But never heeded

I looked at my daughter’s eyes and cried
Her eyes shone bright, her smile so pure
I wish the air was so
I wish the neighborhood she lives was so

When she grows up I will tell her:
“Daughter, your lungs have inhaled
Obnoxious gases which I helped create;
The wetlands, the forests, the waters—
All that was beautiful-- I have depleted;
And now, teary as I am, I recognize my folly;
I was mean and greedy, I never thought about you;
The gift I could have given you would have been
The snow on Mt. Kenya and the Mara and the Statunga
But now, depraved, ashamed, I have nothing to offer
But the acrid air, denuded soils and cactus raising their arms in protest”

And even if my daughter smiles
I know all is not well
All will not be well. 


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