Mother Nature’s Counsel

by Leigh-Anne Burley

Don’t think of me as your mother
rocking on a veranda
admiring my handiwork
from a distance

I am ever-present

My breastplate and helmet 
glisten in sister sun
as I war against your 
toxic waste dumpsites
mingling with my
pristine, healing waters
feel my salty tears 
keening over still-born 
in murky waters

Groanings birth pain 
pain births rage
as my tender ones
suffocate in your thoughtless 
wildfires and droughts

For too long
I’ve allowed your gaze
to caress my rainbow waterfalls
climb my mountain breasts
admire my glacier lakes

Your familiarity is tiresome 
as if I were your friend
I am not
to those who darken
my azure sky with soot
cause my mighty beasts
to disappear from my sight

Neither am I
your permissive mother
consoling and rewarding you
while looking the other way
as you hack my forests
scatter my young ones
deprived of food and shade

Heed your poets and prophets 
ice flows and shriveled rivers 
chisel their messages
on tablets of stone 

My fury spills out
on your reckless ways
my head splits open
upon your disregard
my body heaves
against your disrespect
all of my nature rises
against your cold indifference

With a wave of my hand
I will sweep away
your self-centered 
immediacy and greed

I was verdant and fecund
long before you were
the glint in the Creator’s eye

Return to your roots, man
become again
the steward gardener
in our paradise

Leigh-Anne Burley was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and resides in Virginia with her husband of 42 years She has three children and six grandchildren. Leigh-Anne has a BA in English and MA in Pastoral Counseling. She is published in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Leigh-Anne enjoys walking and hiking in nature, reading and writing.

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