As America goes to the Polls

I read of the ever-increasing death toll
As America goes to the polls
And the millions of acres all burned into coal
As we pray for our lives and our souls

And the souls of the fallen, commend them to heaven
As America goes to the polls:
Animal, mineral, planet now barren
We pray for our lands and our souls

And the innocent creatures lie dead in the ash
As America goes to the polls
And the ocean is choked with our throwaway trash
Still we pray for our lives and our souls.

We have named our new Era the Anthropocene
As America goes to the polls
As Earth’s species are vanishing silent, unseen
Still we pray for our lives and our souls.

Say a prayer for the planet that it’s not too late 
That the earth will repair all the damage replete:
So we pray for our planet, our lives and our souls
As America goes to the polls.

For Earthweal’s weekly challenge, Brendan has asked us to write about what keeps us grounded during the current madness. Meditation and prayer do help to keep me grounded, but also poetry. This is a poem about frightening things, but you’ll note that the metre is very regular, sedate, and even monotonous – like a funeral march or a dirge. But there’s also some consolation in there, the largely unheard prayer of the poem itself.

19 thoughts on “As America goes to the Polls

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  1. That’s a stunning poem Ingrid – thank you for sharing. That’s all any of us on the outside looking in can do – pray 🙏

      1. As a parent I feel I don’t have choice but believe it isn’t too late. Either way I intend to be on the right side of history whatever happens. Thanks Ingrid – wishing you peace and strength through it all 🙏

  2. This does have a fine marching rhythm to it — nicely metered and rhymed — there’s nothing we can do but slog it through, but I do hear a fife above the fray. Thanks – Brendan

  3. Loved this poem, Ingrid! It has expressed my feelings so exactly! This has been the worst era I have ever experienced. I am not even referring to the fact that I had covid19 and six months of recovery…I survived that! I am referring to the anguish of the things referred to in your poem, the illness, death, violence, wildfires…but especially the damage done to our democracy! I have been heartsick over that! Still waiting for the outcome of the election…and the aftermath!

    1. It’s disgraceful isn’t it-with Trump baselessly claiming both victory and electoral fraud. I didn’t realise you’d had ‘long covid’ – I have a friend who’s been through that and it sounds truly awful. Pleased you are recovering from that at least. I hope the world recovers its sanity soon!

  4. I wish I’d seen your poem sooner, Ingrid, and I could have recited it throughout yesterday, like a magic spell to keep Trump at bay. As it is, he seems to have lost, but is clinging on regardless. He said he was a bad loser.

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