On the Fifth Day

“The facts were told not to speak. . .

Jane Hirshfield wrote this insightful and cautionary poem and will read it on April 22nd during the program for the March for Science.  It was published in Sunday’s Washington Post.   Read more about this wonderful poet’s work here.

 

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.

Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.

The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.
Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.

Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.

– Jane Hirshfield

P.S.  There are new prompts on the Prompts page.

9 thoughts on “On the Fifth Day

  1. It seems like only yesterday, when I studied science at Princeton. Science was science then, and not thinly disguised political propaganda, designed only to enrich the coffers of the apparatchik, and control the masses.

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    1. Yup. The first time I heard that Global Warming was a political issue — about 10 years ago — I didn’t believe it. What does that have to do with politics? I’m very afraid for the impact even 4 years will have on our environment.

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