An Earth Day Poem, 2020

“Revolutionary consciousness is to be found among the most ruthlessly exploited classes: animals, trees, water, air, grasses.” ―Gary Snyder

One morning during the pandemic
the city silent with the fear of death
a hedgehog cactus from among its dangerous spines
gave birth to a single luscious pink and white blossom,
the size of a man’s fist,
its sexual core bright yellow and gooey―
“the promised one,”
as stated in the prophecies.
The blossom, once born in the sunshine, began to preach
the gospel of the earth,
its dance through the wide blue sky,
the sermon explaining
how and why humanity is not needed,
if it ever was, thank you,
for the earth, sun, moon and sky,
the great boundless universe,
to flourish
in the truth of love.
All day long the flower preached,
interrupted from time to time
by a pair of black-chinned hummingbirds,
seasonal migrants from south to north,  
who kept coming by
greedy for communion, the body and blood,
take this and eat, take this and drink.
There was that black bumblebee too,
squat little beast,
ravaging the delicate core of the flower’s being.
The flower continued its sermonizing
while attending to these duties.
Neighbors and friends,
walking up and down the street,
stopped by to experience first hand
the flower’s message.
What they learned, only time will tell.
We’ll see, won’t we?
The flower preached until sunset
and during twilight it slowly
closed those delicate petals into itself,
packed its bag and disappeared
forever. The cactus
didn’t seem to mind. It had small buds
already perched among its spines,
each with its own truth to tell
―in its own time, of course,
the long hot summer, the winter to come. 

―Bobby Byrd,
Wednesday, 22 April, 2020

Happy Earth Day, Everybody. I wrote this poem this morning and thought, “Well, don’t make public any poem that was written that very day.” That’s one of my rules. Breaking it always seems to lead to some embarrassing or unflattering mistake. “Oh, well,” I said to myself, never really listening to myself, “publish it anyway. Besides, today is Earth Day and we’re in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. Do it! Do it!” So I’m doing it.   
I want to take this time to thank everybody for supporting Cinco Puntos Press all these many years. Especially our friends who are supporting us in our GoFundMe Campaign; others who have donated money to buy books for kids in our Sheltering in Books Campaign; and still others who are taking time simply to buy Cinco Puntos Press books through our new website instead of going to Amazon. All of you! We greatly appreciate your support. We are planning to get to the other side of this economic madness. Johnny Byrd has put together a great staff—Jessica Powers, Stefanie Frescas, Zeke Peña, Cactus Mary Fountain (our Lady of the hme-made Soaps) and Jill Bell. My darling Lee Merrill Byrd continues her duties as Editor-in-Chief (one of the best in the business), but certainly she has enjoyed being at home in our gardens during this incredibly difficult time. I hope to get back to writing poems!

In the years to come we at Cinco Puntos Press pledge to publish books that will bring about abundant understanding and good to all of our many communities, our country and our planet. May you all stay safe and be well. May we work together for peace and planetary health.

―Bobby Byrd, Publisher Emeritus, Cinco Puntos Press  


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