Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Simms: Who Will Tell Them?

It turns out you can kill the earth,
Crack it open like an egg.
It turns out you can murder the sea,
Poison your own children
Without even thinking about it.
Goodbye passenger pigeon, once 
So numerous men threw nets over trees
And fed you to pigs. Goodbye
Cuckoo bird who lays eggs 
In the nests of strangers.
Goodbye elephant bird
Who frightened Sinbad.
Goodbye wigeon, 
Curleau, lapwing, crake.
Goodbye mascarene coot.
Sorry we never had a chance to meet.
Who knew you could wipe out 
Everything? Who knew 
You could crack the earth open
Like an egg? Who knew
The endless ocean
Was so small?
Right now, there are children playing on the shore.
There are children lying in hospital beds.
There are children trusting us.
Who will tell them what we’ve done?

Copyright 2019 Michael Simms

This 1800s drawing depicts a migrating flock of passenger pigeons being shot at while passing over a small town. (source: WikiMedia)

11 comments on “Michael Simms: Who Will Tell Them?

  1. alexisrhonefancher
    November 10, 2019


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Gordon
    November 9, 2019

    On the mark, Michael!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia A. Nugent
    November 9, 2019

    Doesn’t the Bible tell us that God will take care of the sparrow? Guess God underestimated our selfish human capacity to abuse nature. The canary is in the coal mine, dying. Over and over. And children are in hospital beds.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael Sofranko
    November 9, 2019

    I love this poem, Michael. It’s so beautiful, touching, and timely. Thank you for posting itopuli

    Liked by 1 person

  5. melpacker
    November 9, 2019

    We need not tell them….they will live it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      November 9, 2019

      Yes, and I’m sure future generations will look back and wonder why we didn’t stop the destruction while there was still time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Saleh Razzouk
    November 9, 2019

    Nice poem.
    It open windows and doors on the mess we’ve caused. Mother earth is in danger. The poem tolls the bell.

    Liked by 1 person

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