Sunday, December 19, 2010

"The End of Abundance" (from After The Jug Was Broken)

If I quote my own poem, (below), and talk about the end of abundance, my friend Connie gets annoyed. I say that our post-war generation was probably the most affluent in history. Connie says she doesn't like nostalgia. I say that I speak as a cultural historian, not as someone who looks back fondly at Father Knows Best. (He didn't. Believe me.)

Connie says there is still abundance. Since she is a biochemist, I assume she means more than galaxies of information. Perhaps there are plans and processes and resources and promises I am not aware of. It's strange, I know, to talk about the end of what was plentiful during the holiday season. Certainly, if you are American, a quick trip to Costco will display a warehouse of jingle-bell-plenty beyond what is even imagined by most the people I have met in the far world. But I've just come back from visiting the kids, and who knows what their climate-changed future will be like, especially if we continue not-acting.

I have actually been feeling so wealthy this year. It's the abundance of loving, caring, wonderful people in our life that does it. I need to remember that even if our grandkids must live with diminished resources, there is no reason why they cannot have the sparkling net of connection that we do. Maybe in a world of diminished material means and global disturbance relationships will become even more significant - and more essential. Maybe community will enlarge and engage - and people will truly commune with each other.
Oh, may it be so.

The End of Abundance

Dear grandchildren
born into global warming
accelerating generations
separate us
what I know of ice and snow seasons
the depth of water all we counted on
this knowledge will not be yours

I was born into war
sacrifice rationing
you arrived at the end
of abundance

But who would rather remain unborn
then enter a desperate age?

Little dear ones
time is a rope twirled
by invisible twin girls
we jump in
and skip
for as long as we can

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