Gaia sighed. Not a sigh like lovers sigh looking deeply into each other's eyes. This was a sigh of resignation. In all her long life, there had never been a time she felt as unheeded as now.
Yes, there had been a time once, a time of oneness when all her multitudinous inhabitants had coexisted, when species knew their place in the chain of life and cycled through their existence, not always at peace but with respect for one another: the lion hunted the swift gazelle which in turn fed on the fruits of the trees, parasitic birds and insects grazed upon her and they in turn were the prey of others. ‘Yes,’ Gaia thought, ‘there was a time.’
She sighed again. She remembered when humans first came to prominence in the twilight of her existence. To them, she was the Great Mother, the Creator of life. Was it not she who bore all her inhabitants and was it not to her that they all returned to continue the cycle?
Gaia felt old now, old and forgotten. That respect, that devotion was all gone now. She felt the hurt as the careful balance she had sought to maintain was eroded, not by wind and elements, but by the ravages of humans.
‘They have overstepped their bounds,’ she mused. ‘They must be taught a lesson.’
She pondered on that thought for a moment and for a moment felt a surge of effervescent warmth flow through her form. But grim reality broke through her musings and she shuddered at the horror of the reality. Her memories were dim and misty now. She could remember her birth but only just. How she had taken form from the cosmic flotsam and jetsam all those countless aeons ago. She remembered the youthful exuberance she exhibited then and she smiled in embarrassed recollection. No life could have survived upon her surface then for she was wild and wilful, hot and inhospitable, prone to savage outpourings. But she grew, she gained the experience of time passing, and slowly, slowly, her voluble exterior became calm and gradually her form was blanketed in a kindly cloak of life-sustaining gases. The soup of her oceans spawned and multiplied a myriad of lives and forms and she thought of how many she had seen come and go.
The present again broke through her meditation of what has gone before. Now she was approaching the nighttime of her existence and, like the old elephant, one of her favourite inhabitants, she knew her time was near. She had tried so hard to adapt, to compromise but, like a cancer, the human scourge had spread beyond all control. Oh yes, there had been a few voices raised in concern and some, she knew, spoke with all the sincerity she knew the species was capable of. But, those voices went unheeded, listened to by a few but ignored by the many. Gaia was tired. She hurt. Sol bore down on her savagely, relentlessly and she felt her protective shroud growing weaker and weaker as every moment passed. It was now, the time had come...
© David Simons 2001 (revised 2016)
Ok, not strictly speaking a poem but poetic prose (!?). Take from this what you will.