Outstaying our Welcome

“You are a guest of nature” (Hundertwasser)

boots crush vernal grass and clover
barley heads droop
the once living quilt of meadow
has shrivelled up and died
and the earth shivers with fear
as the sun climbs ever higher
above the blasted pasture of the biosphere

while humans bandy words like ‘zero tolerance’
they neglect to notice Mother Earth
tapping her foot with age-old sufferance
strumming her fingers with impatience
at her lodgers’ impertinence

we have outstayed our welcome
and it’s time to clear up our mess

Kim M. Russell, 7th February 2019

Image result for Hundertwasser you are a guest of nature
Image found on Pinterest



My response to Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Zero Tolerance, also linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

This week Susan reminds us that zero tolerance is controversial and hard to enforce, not just because one law doesn’t fit everyone but because laws are applied unevenly. However, when zero tolerance becomes a law, its job is to prevent future damage.  She wonders whether changing behaviours by enforcement, which is meant to change attitudes over time, can work. She has given us two personal examples, as well as others and some interesting poems to inspire us.

Our challenge is to take one tiny piece of this vast topic and illuminate it in a new poem.

59 thoughts on “Outstaying our Welcome

  1. How I agree! I think the human experiment has had enough time to prove itself but has clearly failed. Not only can’t they get on with each other they are hell bent on killing all the other animal species, melting the ice caps, polluting the rivers and oceans, destroying the forests that give us air to breathe and think if it doesn’t work out the elite will be able to escape to a nearby dead planet to start over. Humans are crazy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “living quilt of meadow” Wow. What loss! Every personification here is shivering my spine:
    “tapping her foot with age-old sufferance
    strumming her fingers with impatience
    at her lodgers’ impertinence”
    And that illustration!
    BTW, I always look forward to your summary of the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Apart from ‘no comment’ – no need for one – on your poem, I wonder if a zero tolerance law isn’t the only way? They had to make a law so we should stop littering for instance. We didn’t arrive there by ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Petru, even if laws were on the books, the overlords don’t feel they need to follow laws. they just pay their fines and call it a tax write-off. there will be no human stopping of this madness. something other will have to do it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Most futurists feel that only the 1%, bless their black hearts, will survive, using their wealth to secure passage to the stars. That is such a lovely nightmare of a premise. Terrific message within a strong poem

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent Kim. I have zero tolerance for the way we are destroying our home, how we are living in the trash of our own making. The trash dumps are overfilling – one use plastics which really get to me. Disposable baby diapers for another. Mother Nature tapping her foot, the second hands on the clock ticking down…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kanzen, not sure if you heard about the mess — no pun intended — with baby wipes and water filtration plants? The wipes are getting flushed and are clogging up the machines that filter the water. I went to a baby shower last week and had to buy baby items for gifts. There was literally one whole side of an aisle that sold just baby wipes!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sadly, Kim, I feel that your poem is being preached to the converted. True magic, would be getting political leaders, like Trump (US) and Ford (Ontario), to mend their environmental pov, which growth is viewed on the positive impact that it has, on the restoration of this planet that we call home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. Those in power must set a good example and I can’t think of any so-called world leader who does. I think Mother Nature will teach us a lesson.


  7. My goodness such poignant and powerful imagery in this one, Kim! I agree we humans have done immense damage to earth’s heart and literally trampled upon its soul with our lack of sense and consideration for its well-being.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haunting images. The personification tugs at the heart strings. Where is the empathy for the earth? So used, abused and taken for granted. It is delusional to think we can continue this path of destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mish. I think all of us poets agree that it’s gone too far. Now we have to persuade all those who don’t give a damn – starting with the rich and powerful..


  9. She’ll be here long after we’re gone, but we’re too puffed-up to realize that. Outstayed our welcome, indeed. (British/American wording difference? My brain expected ‘overstayed’.)

    Liked by 1 person

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