ONE MORNING DURING THE PANDEMIC A Poem for Earth Day, 2020 by Bobby Byrd

A Poem for Earth Day, 2020

“Revolutionary consciousness is to be found among the most ruthlessly exploited classes: animals, trees, water, air, grasses.” —Gary Snyder

One morning during the pandemic
the city silent with the fear of death
a hedgehog cactus from among its dangerous spines
gave birth to a single luscious pink and white blossom,
the size of a man’s fist,
its sexual core bright yellow and gooey―
“the promised one,”
as stated in the prophecies.
The blossom, once born in the sunshine, began to preach
the gospel of the earth,
its dance through the wide blue sky,
the sermon explaining
how and why humanity is not needed,
if it ever was, thank you,
for the earth, sun, moon and sky,
the great boundless universe,
to flourish
in the truth of love.
All day long the flower preached,
interrupted from time to time
by a pair of black-chinned hummingbirds,
seasonal migrants from south to north,
who kept coming by
greedy for communion, the body and blood,
take this and eat, take this and drink.
There was that one black bumblebee too,
squat little beast,
ravaging the delicate core of the flower’s being.
The flower continued its sermonizing
while attending to these duties.
Neighbors and friends,
walking up and down the street,
stopped by to experience first-hand
the flower’s message.
What they learned, only time will tell.
We’ll see, won’t we?
The flower preached until sunset
and during twilight it slowly
closed those delicate petals into itself,
packed its bag and disappeared
forever. The cactus
didn’t seem to mind. It had small buds
already perched among its spines,
each with its own truth to tell
―in its own time, of course,
the long hot summer, the winter to come.

―Wednesday 22 April 2020

Photograph by Lee Merrill Byrd

The poem will appear in The Corona Transmissions: Alternative Methods for Engagement with COVID-19
edited by Richard Grossinger, published by Inner Traditions