Letter to a Worried Citizen

Our long days shaped by wind and snow
ice encasing limbs of the tallest trees
dangerous sidewalks appear safe
each step measured before taken

We’re worried about rising seas
we must do more than write letters
officials obfuscate in the face of storms
uncertainties can’t stop us from planning

There’s no longer any time for debate
a birds fly inland from the coast
this poem’s not a metaphor
we can still build new dikes

The cities pave over fertile soil
farmland has been left to the wind
in Miami the ocean crosses the road
everywhere flowers drown in backyards

New Orleans rebuilds on their flood plain
and islands in the Pacific grow smaller
we can’t all live in the mountains
or survive on an ark like Noah

It’s not enough to save ourselves
we’re working for our grandchildren
forget the burgers, cars and cheap flights
remember we all live on the same turtle’s back

based on Tu Fu’s reply to a letter from his brother at Lin-Yi
lamenting rains and flooding on the Yellow River
(8th century CE)


About Nicholas Power

The poetry of Nicholas Power and his reviews of singular poems in a sequence titled Cadence.
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