We’re glad to share an excerpt from a new ecopoetic collection by Len Gasparini:
Götterdämmerung is an ecopoetic collection, a lyrical assault on the Anthropocene. The poetry collection includes three essays, two of which are a sociological reflection on the works of Milton Acorn and Ted Plantos, and one that reflects on the connection between nature and poetry. The title poem is like Eliot’s “The Waste Land” of the 21st century.
You’ll find it here: https://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/978177183547
Götterdämmerun I In 2018, I saw by the false dawn’s light the first robin of spring. It lay on my doorstep. Dead. If signs are taken for wonders, what sign was this? The signs environ us. As a tellurian of the Anthropocene, can you not tell the signs by sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch? We have despoiled Nature with pollution beyond the point of no solution. We have created a second Nature in the image of the first so as not to believe that we live in paradise. (From Mother Earth to Earth Mother to Mother Nature only women know nurture.) Nature is full of surprises. The signs environ us. Earth, air, water, and fire. We live, and we expire. Acid rain, acid rain, go away, don’t come again another day. We’ll go to the woods no more, the trees have been clear-cut. I see condo-mania under construction in a deep excavation a city block square … Sky-high decadence, says an advertisement. (“buildung supra buildung supra buildung”) Termite towers Montreal Toronto Vancouver I hear a pneumatic drill. I smell an oil spill. I remember the taste of road tar I chewed as a kid. By a streambank I touch the seedpod of a touch-me-not. The natural world resides in the rhythms, variations, and combinations of certain patterns: the spirals of pine cones, fish scales, seashells; the zigzags of lightning, the geometry of spiderwebs; the symmetry of snowflakes, the wavy lines of surf; frostwork, palm trees grazing the horizons … Is technology conditioning us to become an abstraction in a virtual environment? Are you a mere mechanism in a mechanistic universe? Have we all lost touch with life? We are in danger of dehumanizing ourselves. Nobody dances anymore. Nobody dances anymore. We have nothing in hand but our cell phones. For global warming read GLOBAL WARNING. We drove past the first sign years ago when gasoline and diesel fuel were cheaper. Climate change: a euphemism that sounds like a video game. Greenhouse effect: a misnomer. Ditto greenhouse gas; moreover, the etymon of chaos is gas. Do we need to make new cars every year? Earth Day 1970. “We have met the enemy and he is us.” “The poetry of earth is never dead,” said Keats. “The whole earth is our hospital,” said T.S. Eliot. “The earth is an Indian thing,” said Jack. “Nobody owns the earth,” said Bill. The earth is licking its festering sores. The earth is suffering from overpopulationpollution. “We are a plague on the earth,” said Sir David Attenborough. Garden gnomes are picking the tomatoes. Farming has gone to pot. Ill from breathing herbicides, the scarecrow now lies in a woodlot. Swamps and marshes are drained for farming … the water table has dropt, harming plants and wildlife—and it is too goddamn late, too goddamn late to replant this earth.
Len Gasparini is the author of numerous books of poetry, five short-story collections, two children’s books, a work of non-fiction, and a play. He was awarded the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize and won the NOW Open Poetry Stage event. He resides in his hometown of Windsor, Ontario.