An Uneasy Promise


The ark of consequence 

The classic rainbow shows as an arc, a bridge strung 
in thinning clouds, but I have seen it flash a perfect circle,
 rising and falling and rising again 
through the octave of colors, 
a sun shape rolling like a wheel of light. 

Commonly it is a fraction of a circle, a promise only partial, 
not a banal sign of safety like a smile pin, that rainbow 
cartoon affixed to vans and baby carriages. 
No, it promises only, this world will not self-destruct. 

Account the rainbow a boomerang of liquid light, foretelling rather 
that what we toss out returns in the water table; flows from the faucet 
into our bones; what we shoot up into orbit falls 
to earth through the roof one night. 

Think of it as a promise that what we do continues in an arc 
of consequence, flickers in our children’s genes, 
collects in each spine and liver, gleams 
in the apple, coats the down of the drowning auk. 

When you see the rainbow iridescence shiver in the oil slick, 
smeared on the waves of the poisoned river, shudder 
for the covenant broken, for we are given only this floating round ark 
with the dead moon for company and warning.

§ Marge Piercy

In The hunger moon : new and selected poems, 1980–2010 / by.—1st ed.

The Spirituality of Matter

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Matter matters as much as spirit, contrary to some thought in early Christianity.  Matter was considered by some to be evil, while spirit was good.  Contemporary Christian theology urges us to recognize and celebrate the reality that everything that exists is interrelated.  What I do in my relationship with creation affects your ability to be nourished by and enjoy your environment.  My friend Polly grew up in Eastern Washington in the farming town of Colton.  She has lived most of her life somewhere east of the Cascades mountain range.  Today the magnitude and urgency of fires that rage there came home to her.  I share her letter as an invitation to all of us to take creation-centered spirituality seriously.

Dear Rita

This morning I heard that Tonasket was evacuated because of fire danger–the whole town of Tonasket–a town where I spent a week while I taught vacation summer school in Oroville, living in the convent of the Dominican hospital in Tonasket.  This town is evacuated because of the wildfires in the Okanogan.  These places are not just names on a map, They are places I know.  A Colville tribes person asked for prayers saying their reservation is burning.  Also, the whole Spokane Indian Reservation is under a warning to be ready to move because of fire danger.  This is getting closer to home and to the homes of people I know.

 Meanwhile our air is smokey, our sun gives an eerie orangish glow, I go to my car and find particles of ash on my windshield.  And since I’ve started writing this even the valley below my ridge has filled in with smoke.

 But the coal trains keep on rumbling by with their multiple cars shipping coal to the west and likely into Canada on its way to China. And the black tanker cars carry their highly volatile oil to the west coast to refineries where it will become gasoline and other dangerous global warming producing products.

 The drought and fires wouldn’t have to be.  We in our state wouldn’t have to have had the hottest July on record since 1890 when records first started being kept, and our whole planet wouldn’t have to have had the hottest July on record.  But we keep on drilling for oil and natural gas and keep on burning coal.  I sob with heart-break for all this destruction that wouldn’t have to be.

Polly

Photo Credit:  http://q13fox.com/2014/07/17/heart-wrenching-photos-fires-burn-houses-memories-in-twisp/