Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh


Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

One day
the sun
will rise

radiating light
on not a single tree
nor even a blade of grass,
warming a barren earth for no reptile,
nor bird,

nor even a single bipedal mammal
to bend a knee
in humble worship of Ra’s
once life-bringing magnitudes.

I won’t try to tell you how to feel about that
nor will I implore you to stand up and
do something to slow the inevitability,
for even if we collaborate to stem the tide,
it will happen inevitably.

One day the sun will rise alone,
scorching an already sterilized planet,
eradicating every gaudy man-made
monument to ourselves, and we
just may knowingly accelerate
this unavoidable fate

I won’t tell you to save a world that is
well beyond our combined will to save,

for it seems like hubris to even
entertain the notion of saving a world
from the cosmic nature of its
unavoidable demise;

saving our planet, to me, sounds
as ludicrous as saving our lonely sun
from burning though its
finite supply of hydrogen,
and then its helium,
collapsing into a
cooling carbon cinder
of its once majestic brilliance.

But why won’t you think of saving the sun?
We’re wasting its resources, you know.

Why not warm your house with clean coal
and save some of those precious
hydrogen-fused released photons?

I won’t ask you to do that
because that would be utterly ridiculous
and just speed things along and
I greatly prefer slowing things
as much as those
sensible conservationists,

though I won’t ask you to recycle either,
even though it would be rather kind of you
to join me in doing so.

I won’t tell you
to protest Big Oil
and petroleum products

because the cabinet full of pharmaceuticals
extending my lifespan, health and comfort
would compel me to mock my own hypocrisy.

But our planet is dying and
one day the sun will rise alone.

That was always going to be the case,
though we are helping to speed the process
significantly, and with cosmic indifference
bordering perverse zeal.

I won’t sit here and tell you to
get up and go do something about it.

But do get up
and go do something
for me; stand up

and take inventory
of the beauty and wonders
we’ve all taken for granted
from time to time.

If you’re fortunate enough
to experience the ongoing miracle
of waking tomorrow,

go stand outside and listen
to morning wipe the sleep from her eyes,
unfolding her wings, singing all around you.

If luck favors you with a summer rain shower,
let it soak you to your pores
and breathe deeply,
inhaling her perfume.

Observe regal, billowing,
wispy clouds march overhead
towards the horizon,
dissolving from view,
but still existing in both
mystery and memory.

I’m willing to wager that what you see
may cause you to gasp as you tenuously
grasp at your own insignificance,

and maybe, just maybe,
you may find yourself compelled
to preserve some of these moments
a few moments longer.

It’s not much;
perhaps even too insignificant
to make a sliver of a blip
of a microbe of a difference.

But one day the sun will rise alone.
What will you do until then?

Written for dVerse Poetics: On Climate Crisis, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Read other poets’ prompt contributions here.

7 thoughts on “Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

  1. I like the conversational tone of this piece. It offers little in the way of hope, but there is a chink of something there, an encouragement to value what we have, to celebrate and conserve.

    All the lights in the universe will go out eventually.


  2. This deservedly and accurately dark, and at the same time encouraging Barry. As you pointed out in your frustration, a dire frustration I share — if everyone would do just a little, it will extend the time of humankind… how much, who knows? i really like your piece here. Well written. And… it’s been enjoyable listening to the piano accompaniment! Thank you!


  3. Magnificent poem with such clarity, Barry. I don’t like to be a pessimist, but I can’t get past,
    “we are helping to speed the process
    significantly, and with cosmic indifference
    bordering perverse zeal”
    I love how you describe morning waking up and the reminder to appreciate the beautiful things while there is time.


  4. Such a compelling tone in your verse — there are such things which are beyond our control but then there are those which can be/could have been avoided if we take a stand or just listen to the voice of our planet. Your words ring with the truth of our own reality; it speaks to me for its fervent desire to cherish what we have got and to make it last a little longer perhaps.
    This is my favourite bit: “That was always going to be the case,/though we are helping to speed the process/significantly, and with cosmic indifference/bordering perverse zeal.”


  5. Love the message Barry. How tragic that day will come if the sun is the only one shining alone. I inhale the beauty of nature deeply and long – really thankful for all of nature’s blessings.


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