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Syndic Literary Journal

For a Friend


Ernest Lowe

For a friend fearing that time is up for humanity

“The journey might take you a few hours, day, a year, a few years,

 a hundred, a thousand, or even more.”, – Joy Haro


You say that we’re not immune from the Great Extinction . . .

our ship is going down . . . civilization is collapsing . . .

all happening in accelerating slow-mo right before our eyes.  

You say, What the fuck can I do about it?


You can start by crying a flooded river,

ravens on your shaking shoulders.

You can feel in your belly a mother elephant

murdered for her ivory tusks.

You can taste in your mouth

a child dying of 120 degree heat

. . . heat without water.

When your sobbing quiets, just wait . . .

. . . somewhere . . . it’s all happening . . . right now.

The wells of grief are deep.


Then, friend, wait some more.

Wait and listen  

for the raven’s call to her mate

circling her in swooping play.

Listen to the grass growing

in a dead tree’s hollow.

Listen to the worms returning

a car-crushed deer to the soil.

Listen to the toes of your feet

caressing moss and lichens on a fallen log.


Perhaps, after these initiations,

your heart will reveal to you

the world ’round compassion

guiding you to your rocky path of action.

The ravens on your shoulders

will whisper in your ear.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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