DEATH- IN- PROGRESS
We have become too much for ourselves, spilling in all directions
like a river forever in spate, tumbling over its own racing waves
unmindful of everything it tears asunder or sweeps derisively away.
Clawing the air, we pile stone on steel, man on man
to grab the dismayed expanses of the steadily shrinking sky
that hides from us in furtive haste, nooks that could possibly support life.
Swarming the earth like whining bees, we have drained it
only to bore deeper into its bowels, drawing out what little remains.
Stone on steel, man on man as above so below, we've prevailed.
The discards from our thoughtless ways having smothered every space
we have choked upon our own intemperance
asphyxiating ourselves and the future of the world's existence.
When the heat gets to our pampered skins and our hollow lungs wince
at the carbon-curtained air rended by honking cacophonies,
do we wonder at the tally of our teeming tech-rich necessities?
Let's lament not when the sea swells to swallow whole
all the monuments to our mettle that have melted distant ice fields
with the ambitious fire of our audacious greed.
When more flowers demise into textbook lists
and more animals freeze in the archives of human memory
know that we have caused an irreversible disruption of creation’s continuity.
It's not too late to stop clawing at life and give a thought instead
to the long-forgotten, austere alternative of less
for less is the only choice left to arrest our excesses.
Inevitable now is sustainable as a prefix to growth.
Undeniable now, what the soothsayers had foretold
of warming catching up vengefully with our selfish goals.
Clarion calls that go unheard would one day return as ghosts to haunt
a withered world widowed by the extravagance of progress,
a progress that would be forced to yoke itself to every form of death.
Anju Kishore’s poems have been featured in numerous Indian and international anthologies. One of the winners of The Great Indian Poetry Award 2018 and The Prime International Poetry Prize 2020, her book of poems ‘…and I Stop to Listen’ was published in 2018. A former Cost Accountant, she is part of the Editorial Team of India Poetry Circle and Kavya-Adisakrit Publishing.