22 August 2018

The World, a Beautiful Place

The Palisades cliffs
The Palisades cliffs overlooking the Hudson River

The WORLD is a beautiful place.
The world IS a beautiful PLACE.
The world is a BEAUTIFUL place.
I know.
I know.
That’s what climate deniers see
outside their car windows in country sides
during their Sunday afternoon outings
playing I Spy and singing patriotic songs,
the father’s bass grounding the sopranos
in “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory”
and “America the Beautiful.”

It’s true.  Looking out train windows, I see
beauty in the Hudson River Palisades—
tall, stark, grand—these cliffs seem to be the west
bank of the river bed.  At least from here
no bottles and no dead fish are visible.
Maybe none are there.  Maybe the trees are
thick as they look—at least no fires burn.
I take picture after picture
The world is a beautiful place!
The world IS a BEAUTIFUL place
The world is a BEAUTIFUL PLACE.

Saying so makes it seem other places
exist—other places besides this world
which out this window looks so beautiful.
Out other windows may be floods and fires
and pestilence and hunger which distort
what climate deniers know to be true.
But world is like an elephant
in front of blind men trying to see it.
World is an elephant with various
climates and terrains, with gravity,
with tears for its sick and dying children
and hope for its precarious balance.

This, too, is beautiful: the ways our world
tries healing and remembering, the ways
our world holds impressions and roots and bones,
the ways our world makes fossils and amber
and fuel and mountain ranges, and the ways
our world rages and gauges its own skin
with razor-like toe nails and with rock slides
and fire, water and howling sounds of grief.
Our world’s loss of patience is beautiful.
It’s beautiful from behind clear windows
where tourists sit to take pictures to post
on social media.  So beautiful.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
lease respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast


  1. Yes, the world does try to fix the damage but humans are so blind that they continue to ravage the Earth. I just can't believe that the majority of us are blind to the destruction being caused. We have just got to to continue shouting our aloud.

  2. The elephant as world is a really interesting parallel. And I particularly liked "the ways our world tries healing and remembering". It has so much tell us, and most of the time we are too self absorbed to truly see it. To see the hurt we are collectively causing. I just hope the planet doesn't follow the extinction path of the elephants. Great poem.

  3. So many interesting images and thoughts you have shared with us

  4. An excellent write Susan with its truth therein.
    The world is indeed an elephant that blind men refuse to see and will do so as long as there is money to be made.
    I watched a TV programme yesterday: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/saving-planet-earth-fixing-a-hole of how the world worked together to fix the hole in the ozone layer and it filled me with hope, in that we can all work together. However when searching for the link, I came across this: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44138984 which shows that all is not going well after all. Sigh.
    I hope the world is able to repair itself Susan after the savage treatment we have wreaked upon it, after we are gone…
    Anna :o]

  5. This poem is like a mirror reflecting The World of ours in all its beauty, black spots and surviving skill. All the 'windows' present here add layers to the poem. Love the refrain. Oh! the climate deniers get on my nerves. Wish they vanish soon. Ugh...

  6. Such a wonderful panorama on display in your words. Both the beauty of the world and the wretched realities sit side by side for our purview — the immediate surroundings may help us turn a blind eye to the pestilence existing elsewhere. We are all complicit in our ignorance and defiance despite all the evidence available. But, yes, it is also beautiful how we heal and recover, how we see some budding blooms of humanity and love for nature hither-thither and that is something to absorb into our skins.
    I found this bit hard-hitting particularly: "But world is like an elephant
    in front of blind men trying to see it".
    Very well-penned.

  7. Your poem reads like a Genesis story. Where God creates and sees his creation GOOD

    Thanks for dropping by my blig today Susan


  8. Interesting and passionate, enjoyed reading.

  9. Jedediah Purdy published a book in 2015 titled After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene in which he looks at changing views of the natural world and how environmental activism has changed over the years. Core to his argument is that in the Anthropocene, there can never be more than damaged nature; this IS our world, and beautiful vistas can never be more than the sum of damage occurring planet-wide. Privileging natural vistas is a form of deception, hiding the truth of what we are. Our laws must reflect our devotion to an ever-damaged world. Or something like that ... anyway, deeply amen to what you say here. Loss and emptiness and extinct presences are part of our response to the world as it is.

  10. I love this poem so much! The saddest thing about our current state, to me, is how much beauty she still showers on us as we are killing her. I love best your lines about the beauty of how she remembers and tries to heal. And how she rages, when the struggle is too much.

  11. And the beauty of the country and the world does inspire people, including me to sing patriotic songs - to take picture after picture. I like best how the world remembers and tries to heal. That is a beautiful thought. That is what is still so good and real about our world, in spite of us.

  12. Out other windows may be floods and fires
    and pestilence and hunger which distort
    what climate deniers know to be true.

    It is true that a beautiful world is just a dream for many others embroiled or faced with conflicts and hunger. Great observation Susan!


  13. The problem is that many people live in places where they don't see the extent to which the planet has been raped and pillaged. They never step outside their comfort zones and believe that what they see on TV in other parts of the country or world can't happen to them. They think that they are protected from disasters and continue to add to the problem. More poems and songs like this need to be released like balloons into the world so we can save at least some of it and future generations can appreciate its beauty. I love the elephant simile, Susan!

  14. Viewing what looks beautiful from a distance, can be deceiving. I love your observation of, "what other place is there". This poem embodies many thoughts and questions that we have.

  15. Beautiful vistas still remain but not one of the tourists would dare drink the water. Everyone really knows the planet is screwed.

  16. Your words are true, the world is a beautiful place.

  17. Am reminded of the beauty of the Canadian Shield, as I took the Greyhound bus through eastern Ontario, from Toronto to Ottawa. Of the wondrous land, unfolding before us, passengers that most didn't notice. The ancient rock carved by time, water and wind, the narrow valleys with herons and other wildlife living, despite our damnedest to kill everything off.


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