Remember these words?–Wendy Morton

In light of the recent discussion here, I though it may be a good time to post this poem by Wendy Morton.

It’s not necessary or appropriate to tie a poem to a chair to illicit a confession, however, it is worth noting, in this poem, the poet’s prophetic wisdom in tying together environmental and human violence.

Wendy Morton, as is her way, says so much, with a few well chosen words.

I thank her for the privilege of offering you this previously unpublished poem.



Phoenician, Sumerian, Babylonian.
How they took the trees.
The soil washed into the sea.
The starving years.
Belligerence and slaughter:
their scarred borders.

Not a sweetheart story.
Not Hollywood with starlets
in sequins.
Not Charlton Heston
looking good on a chariot.

Cartographic stupidity.
100 million killed.

Heart of Darkness world.

Wait. More.
Terrible electronics.
Bloodlands. Slaughter.



  1. Ours is only the next in a long line of civilizations that have died out or will die out. What will the next inhabitants call us when they look back at our time? Who will remember the poet’s words? At least we have the ability to read Wendy’s words today. Thank you.

  2. Short poem. Long history. Shorter memories. Longer silence. Charleston Heston still plays as a re-run. When we’re wiped out as an entity, who will keep us real and unforgotten?

    It will be Earth. Land never forgets. Its poetry lies beneath the surface waiting to be found, held like a good book, a good look at our past. And it is Wendy Morton’s images of a chariot and clear cuts that tell us what to expect beneath.

  3. I learned in my recent tour of western Turkey that the Romans had built elaborate baths in the cities that they built as their empire expanded. It took a lot of wood from the trees in that beautiful country to keep the water hot for their cauldaria, tepidaria and frigidaria. (Nice words eh?) As the mountains were bared of the trees, erosion carried the silt to the sea, so that bays like the 20-mile one reaching Ephesus were completely silted in.

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