Grow NYC

On the run, in retreat,
empty lots, dirty streets–
take the land, make it green–
thumbs and hearts, community.

Food to eat, flowers, herbs,
trees with branches full of birds–
an oasis filled with life–
lost then found, death defied.

I’ve been thinking about the earthweal challenge for Earth Day–what postitive steps have been taken locally to improve the environment?

NYC was in serious decline in the 70s–hence the famous headline, from 1975, below. Everything was falling apart, and there were vacant lots and abandoned properties everywhere.

Ford new york city drop dead

Organizations like GrowNYC, Greenthumb, and OasisNYC began to foster community gardens in abandoned lots, renovated by volunteers from the surrounding area. Today there are nearly 600 such gardens in the city–everywhere you walk, you’ll stumble upon one. Managed by neighborhood residents, they grow all kinds of things, both edible and simply beautiful. They foster new and experienced gardeners, young and old. They sponsor art displays and performances, and act as community centers.

I used Bjorn’s prompt, at dVerse, to compose my poem for Earth Day in Anapestic Tetrameter.

Nature’s Way (Earth Day 2020)

what grows here collage s

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”—Cree Proverb

I attended the first Earth Day celebration in Washington DC in 1970.  I was 18 years old, full of hope and energy.  It seemed to me then that humans were listening to the Earth’s warnings.  We would clean up the air, the water, the soil, we would consume less, learn to live both sustainably and without the psychic and financial gaps of artificial hierarchy.

Fifty years later, and we lose more species every year.  The ice caps are melting, the violent weather increasing, the extremes of everything becoming the norm.  Seasons are disappearing.  Many of the world’s peoples have no place to call home.

All those things we “need”, all those conveniences we can’t live without, all those changes we are too busy or discouraged to fight for…

new characters but
the same stories—remembered
in the light of now

earth mandala comp

The NaPoWriMo Day 22 prompt is to take a proverb from a culture not your own and use it to inspire your writing.  Many cultures have proverbs that counsel us to be good caretakers of the earth, but the Cree words seemed especially appropriate.

I’ve done posts and earth-inspired art many times over the years, and the art here is taken from some of them.

napo2020button1-1

imagine close up s