26 August 2022

Should I Drive Faster?



Humans flow away from dried up rivers;

that is, they’re inversely proportional.

This is true everywhere, and death follows

climate’s excess drought, flood, fire and vast need.


I drive up the serene Hudson River

thinking this, then drive back down toward home.

The reservoirs are low.  Early red-gold

leaves stand out amid green leaves and needles.


New York City is on drought watch and sub-

urban lawns go brown without their ration.

Yet crowded cities of the Rio Grande send

busloads of refuges up to this lush North East.


And the Hudson seems undisturbed by news

across the country and around the world.

Nothing restricts its movement—nor stops me

driving alone in a gas-powered car.


Don’t I know we’ve drained earth’s inner rivers?

In time, earth's surface will share the same fate.

Enjoy each drive, I tell myself, as there 

may never be another.  Seize the day.



For earthweal weekly challenge: RIVERS, GONE.

Posted at earthweal open link weekend #133.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast


  1. When even the Hudson River reservoirs are low, we must be concerned. I am amazed that people arent freaking out by these drying up rivers. But we are so accustomed to wanting to feel all right.....Yes, watching the news reminds me daily to take solace in today's god fortune as we dont know when our turn will come, only know it will come eventually........Lovely to read you, Susan. So glad you had your visit to your mom.

  2. Sobering piece Susan. Very interesting and well written. You have touched on some of the sad truths of our day. Continuing indifference in the adult population of this planet! Especially among those raping our earth, and the political criminals who enable it — all in the name of money (power & control). Having moved in 1990, at age 43 to the Pacific Northwest, (25 years in Portland, OR, now 7 years in Seattle, WA). I am in love with the nature here, the forests, rivers, lakes, high deserts, the Oregon Coast. I know rivers around the world are vanishing, but we have been lucky so far up here. But I grieve for the world. I fear our arrogance may have sent us past the tipping point. My wife and I live just below my son, daughter-in-law — and 8-year-old grandson. Seeing my grandson almost daily, and watching him grow so full of wonder, my hope for him is that the world he is growing into can somehow stem the tide of climate change. But my heart aches for fear that we can’t, and he will inherit this earth, and the abuse we have heaped on it. We are leaving our mess for his generation, and following generations, to begin trying to figure out how to finally begin cleaning up. The generations that have preceded him sure as hell have, and continue to essentially, drag our feet in making any meaningful change. Nothing beyond lip service. Shame on us.

  3. It just seems that as long as the oil is flowing nothing can stop the human juggernaut on its way off the cliff. What more evidence do we need that it is all coming apart...and quickly! Always good to read you, Susan.

  4. Oh dear poets, I feel you. May youth find we've restored something for them, that we haven't used everything up, that we can learn to care for and take care of each other.

  5. Rivers deliver the contrasting images of the Anthropocene - drought here, flood there (Mississippi and Pakistan awash) -- there is also the stark contrast between what we know is happening versus what our eyes daily, serenely see. Poems must be bridges for that changing reality, and that is what is richest here. Well done Susan -

  6. Appreciate the realism and the conflict you share here. It's difficult to know what to do sometimes, and hard to avoid feeling guilty for any action whose ripples contribute in the wrong direction for keeping the planet alive.


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