Wake-Up Call

What will it take to rouse us from
our deadly slumber?

Nature nudges us awake, and
we open an eye to see

Katrina bearing down on New Orleans--
where rooftops float
on dark-grey waters, and dancing flames of oil
mock the cries for help...
as the acrid stench of sewerage insults wide nostrils,
and throngs of the old, sick, poor, and disabled
swelter in the Superdome; while the Governor orders the National Guard,
to "shoot to kill" the left-behind looters.

Rescuers on inflated dinghies plead with the tears of a weathered face,
in a second-floor window,
who refuses to abandon his sole companion.

But sleep beckons us once more
to dreams...

Where we proud grandparents post pictures of sleeping babes in egg-cozied beanies and
smiling angels undaunted by the gap of missing teeth rescued by the tooth fairy.
Oh, the innocence tugs at our unfathomable love whose cradling arms, snuggle-ready shoulders and soothing lullabies would sacrifice all for the children of our children. Gramps feels the world melt away as he holds his precious bundle...

But will we wake up in time?

Meanwhile the world does melt away and
Houses and bridges ride the raging river as Irene
Scoops them from their foundations light as feathers.
Water gushes down subways as Sandy settles her score.
And we are awakened again by its roar as
Typhoon Haiyan rips the Philippines apart,
and the UN gives Yeb Sano a standing ovation as he sobs,
"We must stop this madness!"

But the news grows repetitive and we tire.

We tire more easily than the polar bear who perches precariously on ice
As he scans the vast ocean in search of his next frozen platform
now hundreds of miles away, and we drift off to sleep.

Hundreds of miles away. Why should we care about hundreds of miles away?
Where super-storms rage, droughts and wildfires ravage, rising oceans displace islanders,
tensions mount as crops wither, wars for fresh water wage on;
where oil profits vie for the rights to drill their melted Arctic waters,
and ancient forests are bull-dozed and burned to bring us our happy meals.

What will it take to rouse us from
our deadly slumber?

Where we dream of winning the Superbowl or World Series;
Where we idolize stars and their rocky relationships;
Where we fret about fashion and fawn over selfies;
Where we pair the perfect pinot noir with fresh-farmed fish;
Where the demands of our daily lives distract us from
the imminent danger and leave us too drained to do more
than watch another episode of Bachelorette or a re-run of Survivor.

But wake up we must, to take action
to prevent the nightmare that
Our children and their children are destined to suffer if we do nothing.

We mustn't hit Snooze--
The climate alarm is sounding!

[Note: For those wishing to take action, check 350.org; gofossilfree.org; CitizensClimateLobby.org; Mom's Clean Air Force; Next generation; thesolutionsproject.org]