Monday, August 4, 2014

A Lament for the Earth

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
Based on the Book of Lamentations, read on Tisha B'Av, which begins this evening, Monday, August 4.


he burned like a flaming fire” (Lamentations 2.3)
Burned, burned – wood, coal, oil, gas, gasoline –
burned, burned, burning, burning –
stealing from me my ancient gifts,
throwing back filth, black and invisible.

“He has demolished without pity” (Lam. 2:17)
Forests –
trees reaching toward the sky,
vines clinging to their sides,
nests of birds,
epiphytic orchids,
soil left open, denuded, barren, stripped of life.

Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her” (Lam. 1:17)
I, the Earth, cry out –
tsunami, winds, waves, pelting precipitation,
raging heat, ice and snow,
and melting, melting, melting.

 “I called to my lovers but they deceived me” (Lam. 1:19)
You claim to love me –
yet you drive your card, heat your home, turn on your lights –
eat fancy foods from across the sea,
get in an airplane to visit your ailing parent –
You claim to love me.

 “They heard how I was groaning, with no one to comfort me” (Lam. 1:21)
Will no one hear my cries?
I only have one life to give.

“The kings of the earth did not believe” (Lam. 4:12)
They meet in Kyoto,
they meet in Copenhagen;
they claim to care, but not enough;
politics prevail,
little changes.

“Our eyes failed, ever watching vainly for help” (Lam. 4:17)
And while I wait, my rivers run dry, or dirty,
clouds of filth settle over summer cities,
you who caused it all sicken and die,
the indigo bunting shimmers blue but no one sees.

“Slaves rule over us” (Lam. 5:8)
The oil must be sold;
you must get to work;
you must have another pair of shoes;
you must hit the ball across grass kept green by poison;
must, must, must.

“Arise, cry out in the night at the beginning of the watches” (Lam. 2:19)
Lovers of life, hopers of a brighter future,
mothers of children, keepers of the faith and of the planet,
rise up,
cry out,
change your ways,
change your ways,
change your ways –
or give up hope for me.

--January, 2010


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