“Hieroglyphic Stairway” by Drew Dellinger

Editor’s note: Pagans just finished celebrating Samhain, during which many of us honored our ancestors.  Earlier this week, Catholics around the world celebrated the Day of All Souls, during which they too honored their ancestors.  As we move into our late autumn theme of Responsibility, we at HP are shifting our attention from our ancestors to our descendants.  And thus, we open this theme with a poem by Drew Dellinger.

Hieroglyphic Stairway, Copan, Honduras

it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do
once
you
knew?

I’m riding home on the Colma train
I’ve got the voice of the milky way in my dreams

I have teams of scientists
feeding me data daily
and pleading I immediately
turn it into poetry

I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech

I am the desirous earth
equidistant to the underworld
and the flesh of the stars

I am everything already lost

the moment the universe turns transparent
and all the light shoots through the cosmos

I use words to instigate silence

I’m a hieroglyphic stairway
in a buried Mayan city
suddenly exposed by a hurricane

a satellite circling earth
finding dinosaur bones
in the Gobi desert
I am telescopes that see back in time

I am the precession of the equinoxes,
the magnetism of the spiraling sea

I’m riding home on the Colma train
with the voice of the milky way in my dreams

I am myths where violets blossom from blood
like dying and rising gods

I’m the boundary of time
soul encountering soul
and tongues of fire

it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I can’t sleep
because my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the earth was unraveling?

I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech

You can see Drew recite this poem here.

About the Author

Drew Dellinger, Ph.D., is a speaker, poet, and writer about issues of  ecology, justice, cosmology, and connectedness.  He is the founder of Planetize the Movement.  Drew has presented at TEDWomen, Bioneers, the Green Festival, the Dream Reborn, and the Parliament of the World’s Religions. and shared stages with Thomas Berry, Julia Butterfly Hill, Brian Swimme, and Joanna Macy.  He is the author of a book of poems, Love Letter to the Milky Way.  He also created and taught the course, “New Cosmology: The Universe Story” on ecology, worldviews, and the work of Thomas Berry. His multimedia presentation, “The Cosmic Narrative”, was made into a film, The Awakening Universe. languages.  Drew holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion from CIIS, and was an Associate Professor and Director of the Program in Social Ecology.

 

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