In an age before there was time itself
in the Archean Period of Earth’s existence
was it not sulphur which filled the atmosphere?
And did being not issue forth
from deleterious surroundings?
In the days of Pompeii’s splendour
Was it not the Roman law of Patria Protestas
which extolled the virtues of exposing superfluous
newborns in the wilderness to die?
But have we not passed into a time now
of Brooke’s Granchester meadows?
Now do we not wonder at Wordsworth’s lakes?
Are we not all now both Swallows and also Amazons?
So why now do you beset us with the ravages of Katrina?
Why do you send torrents down the streets of New Orleans?
Is it to wash away the wretchedness of our existence?
Or have we yet to learn that the sulphurous Archean
beckons a hedonistic populous with its imminent return?
Patrick Mackeown, May 2006
This poem was included in the Poetry Collection Ancient Heart Magazine, Volume 5, Number 1, January 2007.