Michael O’Kelly, retired UU Minister, sent UUMFE this climate justice-themed poem. He is the author of three volumes of poetry – Sympathies: The Aoide Protocol (iUniverse, June 2014); Altarpieces: Structures of Poetry and Spiritual Thinking (iUniverse, May 2011); and Glistenings: Till Death Do Us Part (Xlibris, Corp., April 2010). He lives in Clarksburg, West Virginia.


Fault serves in an insane world just won’t play.
This issue’s always at break-point, PJ.
Play-makers have spoken many loud sounds;
but how to say “Backyards,” “Earthlings,” and “Choirs”
so people hear trumpets of  new Scripture
and see Mother Earth as no second best.
Clearly, the old calling of Common Faith
finds  unio sympathetica  with Common Ground,
where our dead are as loud as gods are mute!
Still, rambunctious believers won’t yet sing
in our one-world choir of shared destiny.
Deniers dig heels in dated dogma.
Bad guys shoot-bomb the innocent daily.
Our lonely Planet’s getting lonelier,
as galaxies expand far past the far.
Earth-Angels are hoarse from crying aloud.
It’s insane! People dying every day
midst cries for Jihads and Armageddons,
civil wars that kill and displace thousands;
as pace quickens to planet overload
(a mere 7 billion and counting more),
as tipping-point chaos-precipices
proliferate. Earth’s Angels are so hoarse:
wings cramped by randoms of the mundane bad!
So much terror in our jurisprudence.
So much jurisprudence in our terror.
Criminality’s a banality.
Pornography plays as the new poetry.
Surveillance spies on its own democracy.
More juice for jus inter gentes, PJ!

THE GLACIERS ARE   M   E   L   T    I   N   G   AWAY!

HOW NOW TO ROUSE PEOPLE – so consumer-sized,

super-naturalized, super-jingoized,
super-dogmatized, super-sexualized. . .
to just go back home to the backyard hoe,
play ball, cheer the team, dig worms, fish the stream,
fix up the place, re-aquify the fonts;
seed Vergil, the Vitruvian, and Voltaire;
wing with wild geese wedged through the warming sky,
weed gardens, dig tunes from the uttermost:
utterances of squirrels, whales,  butterflies,
and reclaim the land – WHEN ALL LIFE’S ON TRIAL?
The storm of statistics showers us no grace;
hearing Earth’s frailty louder saves us no face.

The Earth Angels cry now for sanity
with every dead rainforest bird and tree,
every melting glacier and quaking sea,
each terror’s war, nuclear territory,
every road kill of endangered specie.

What jury-choir is this writ preaching to?

Who hasn’t seen Earth through Apollo’s eyes?
Old Blue Marble’s rolled in everyone’s socket,
rumbling loud visions in everyone’s pocket.
I could be some Dike or Astraea:
some voice for divine seers shelved in toyland.
Don’t know if I’m Krishna or Arjuna,
or a four-mouthed Brahma chanting old verse:
multi- tongued baton shook at weakened bees,
for bold new Brahms, Bartoks, Bernsteins, Bizets.
I’m choirless:  worse. . .can’t make statistics sing.
What’s the score – when there’s no Ka-Ching-Ka-Ching?

Just ephemera in prolifera:
obitua after obitua?
Just harsh soul-cry from ars poetica
in a Cirque du Celeb wonder world
of piercings and tattoos unlimited;
whine&wince singers in strobe-light surround,
robo- iPhoners with HD TV’s:
pimped by internet and 3-D movies.
I don’t see high-fiving fans waving towels
to rally the volley of this venture.
I think, too, of throwing mine in the ring;
to stop the carnage of unread  pages.

More fill for land-fills is not fulfilling.
Yet, some could tune their racket’s for whacking.
Help! Backyard-Ungrund voices need more hype!
Even “selfie” books and “smartie” journals,
that few will buy or grasp . . . or even hold,
turn-up the gas to absurdity’s fire.
(Life so essays for poets on self-hire.)

Who says poetry makes nothing happen?
Its journey’s sharp-bark bark’s barken
In the midst of timin’ that’s lost its rhymin’—
Poetry’s hurtin’ for poetries to happen!
Laud’s applause dims in the land of Auden:
And Stevens’ “necessary” angels are laggin’ behind!

THE    GLACIERS    ARE    M   E   L   T   I   N   G    AWAY!
This is the Play. The Game. The Deal. You in?
Beauty’s a duty and truth’s a career;
be the magic wand or both disappear.
So, PJ, which side of the net you on?
Poetries or Politics? Pen or Sword?
Voice or Noise? Worth or Words?
Peace or . . . “just”. . . War?
A match! Match play! Over-matched?
Need a Light for the Choir?
What? “Forge Ahead!” That’s your judgment call now?
That’s one heavy – message the world – anvil:
that Earth as it spins is our Rolly Grail.

There’s small Audience in “that” Resonance.
“Just hammer,” you say, “and let the sparks dance:
some luminaries will seize dawn’s advance,
volley the revelations of Earth’s New Chance.”
Sounds, maybe, like a “Call me. . .Maybe,” song.
But I’m no mystagogue or hierophant,
no owl or eagle, just  robin beat-breast
pecking dirt to pluck a song with the worms.

Horace-Shelley-Rilke would be amazed,
poets are produced in masses these days.
What are they saying that’s worth repeating.

What’s it take to get volume up to speed,
           To be stirred and shaken deep-down in the pot,
           Down where this quatrain sows its ancient seed;
           Where lines can rhyme if they tie a good knot.

Yes! Well-tied. . . forms the patterned work of lace,
dons home with strong nets of Amazing Grace.
Save face? Not lose our place? Not at this pace!
For peace’s sake, can’t we turn-up the choir?
Maybe! The work of the poet persists
if one’s really “to be a source of truth,”
be “a vehicle of world harmony,”
guided thus by Mandelstams and Heaneys;
even Hazlitt’s characterization fits:
that “poets are creatures of sympathy.”
All are laced in the grasp of Heineman’s
“respondeo, ergo sum” – I respond,
therefore I am: a poet’s stand profound,
free to choir and purl-a-purl one’s own sound:
life played one-on-one with no passing shots.

THE GLACIERS ARE   M   E    L    T    I    N    G   AWAY!

“Forgive them for they know not what they do,”
is a dead phrase today. They know they know!
The dun for what “they’ve” done’s our debt past due.
Respond! Redress! Dress-up for the role.
What the deuce! No robe to don – one’s not heard.
But you’ve The Robe-The Cloth-The Hood, PJ!
This “justice” appeal yells from multitudes.
Re-string this: How harmonize the tangles,
knit-knots, faults, and inter-net woven swerves?

Takes natural gut to accomplish credence;
new stanzas strung with true resilience
to clarify Earth’s new emergency,
to energize fresh our shared destiny,
to crescendo symphonic coherence.
World Choirs, tuned like intricacies of lace,
voices pitched in sound like Beethoven’s Ninth,

N   E   E   D     T O      S    I    N    G  .  .   .

to redress-re-robe governing bodies.

So, PJ, help this bouncing-ball’s sing along.
We’ll all get along if we can sing along.
The multitudes are waiting for their song.
A mighty Chorus, PJ! You hear it?


THE GLACIERS ARE   M   E   L   T    I   N   G   AWAY!

Privileges of Hope, PJ. Set ‘em free.
Gads! All due respects, Your Honor!
Get your players off the bench and into the game!
Time for the service of aces, PJ.
Victory wants its glad past the daily sad.

Miserere! Miserere!

Rhymes too much with Destiny.

Poetry needs to rhyme with Justice, PJ!
Earth’s lease needs to rhyme with peace, PJ!
No back room deals!
Face-up, line-up, all the cards as they lie.
Gavel to the anvil, PJ!


To the courtyards! The backyards! Line ‘em up.
Ode by ode! Bard by Bard! Go rhyme a line!
The Auctioneer has a gavel, too, PJ:


THE GLACIERS ARE   M   E   L   T   I   N   G   AWAY!

Time for la literature engagee!

Time for la resistance spirituelle!

Camus aced the absurd singing –WE ARE!

Time to cause a racket! A Happening!

You’re the grantor of poetic license!

You’re the judicium totus tuus!

Time to find your rhythm. Get a game-plan!
Get the real match-ups to fire-up their match.
A Stravinsky-Whitman-Gandhi Smash, PJ!
Fresh balls to Bloom, Berry, Bishop, and Bly.
Time to break the tie so the sparks can fly;
new augurs forged to shepherd-in the fold,
backhand-forehand: time’s a line not on hold.

THE GLACIERS !  THE   G   L   A   C   I   E   R   S!


THE   S   I    N    G    E    R    S! –– THE-SINGERS!!!





Ding-Dong! Ding-a-ling-the-Dingbats-gone!
Clear the belfry! Time to re-rope the bells.
I know You know! Don’t roll those eyes at me!
Focus on the politicky spin of the bouncing ball;
get set to  judge returns and Courting’s call.


LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!  Respondeo, ergo sum!

Natural guts strung in WhackO service time.
Break-point! Faults unallowed in this time line.
Time for Whacking Aces!



(unafraid to rhyme in time)

Whack those of Aces in the Court of PJ
Scores that score at the point of no return.


[I first whacked this apostrophe at some pages over a year ago. A poetry professor threw it, I believe, in her wastebasket. Now it’s back and on its own. It’s to be hollered with some rigor-vigor in the Court of PJ. Editings and fine-tunings encouraged if they enhance the volume and response. It will be in my next book – as is, plus any enhancements.]

Michael D. O’Kelly (Newly enhanced on 5.28.14)