Two Climate Crisis Poems from Writers in Baltimore Schools

Screencap courtesy Dharna Noor

“Crisis” by A.H. Berry

I sit and hear my lover say

“I want to grow old with you”

and I wonder

how old is old?

and will we be aged by time

or by trauma

handed to us by the generations

that tried to eat money

and left us with nothing but

storms?

Storms on the street and

storms in the polls

storms of science and faith and the

fake

division between them

a storm of dust and waves of heat

making breath harder to catch

and a storm of students

holding repurposed cardboard

blocking the roads

begging to see their future

saved

Reality is burning

in a world of masochists 

but I’m not used to the pain yet

so as futile as it seems

I do what I can

to lessen it

I have my cardboard, my voice

my love for life

my stomping grounds

stomped with demands for climate justice

and No Planet B

and carbon neutrality now

and holding hands with the ones I fight for

A.H. Berry is a freshman at Vassar.

“Global Warning” by Mika Quinn

This is not a drill.

There will be no evacuations, no alarms, no safe houses for you to stow away your fears.

The alarms have already gone off.

And you have not listened.

We have shouted from the tops of once-glacial fjords,

From the depths of a sea whose cries are muted by your mechanical noise,

Noise that pollutes, pumping out nothing but the remains of what this earth once was,

Nothing but warning signs to listen.

We have stood at the edge of an Earth that is already ending,

Already burning,

Already dying.

Once, you were like us.

Stared down by the threat of a world that would burn to global extinction,

Cornered by fears of sea levels swallowing land whole,

Frightened by the thought that this is because of us.

But now, you are no longer us.

We wonder if you really ever were.

We were not there when you faced the fears we face now;

We do not know what was done or not done or undone,

But we must ask– why are we fighting to be heard?

Why do we have to raise our voices to straining to remind you

of how you

have failed?

You have not listened. Perhaps you never have.

But now,

You must.

Because we are prepared to speak.

Because we are aware of everything done, not done, undone.

Aware of the largest threat in this world

that even the president of the United States will not even attempt to fix.

Because we have no wish to continue your tradition of passing on the issues of the previous generation,

Because we do not want to have to explain to our children, and our grandchildren, why the world that they live in,

Is no longer living.

Because if we do not do something now,

We will never get the chance.

And so, yes, we, the youth of this country, the youth of this world, are demanding that you listen.

To act. To try.

Because this is not a drill.

The alarms have already gone off.

NOTE TO VIEWERS: As it has been made clear to us that the current president of the United States and his campaign have no intention of aiding other nations in reducing the effects of climate change, this is not a message for him. It is a message for all current candidates on either side of the aisle, we are asking them to please, do their homework and look into climate change and what it is doing to our planet, and through this research, develop non-harmful ways of addressing climate change and tempering it. It is a message for those smarter than us, asking them to make their findings regarding climate change known, and use it to find solutions, and to tell our leaders that they cannot continue to ignore this crisis.

We thank you for your time.

Mika Quinn is a junior at City College.

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