Broken Compass

Vincent van Gogh once wrote:
‘The conscience is a man’s compass’,
but humankind’s compass broke
and we have lost our way.
We are drowning the planet
in a mass of plastic,
choking the rainforests
with palm oil,
sitting by and watching
as the polar icecaps melt
into the background of inane
selfies posted on social media.
Who is able to fix the compass
and point us in the right direction
on the path to a slower, cleaner life?

Kim M. Russell, 16th July 2019

Related image
Starry Night Bicycle Trail – image found on Pinterest

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Climate Crisis

In the first Poetics after the summer break, Anmol is our host, talking about the theme of climate crisis and we are writing eco poetry, which we can go about in different ways, by focusing on the devastation that we see around us or the human/sociological impact of the same; we can talk about forests, rivers and other resources; or about corporate greed and continuing exploitation of our planet. It is up to us to address the issue in any manner that speaks to us or that we think requires further prodding and discourse.

29 thoughts on “Broken Compass

  1. A real big problem for sure. Seeing those mass of plastic in the ocean and choking or drowning the sea life is so heartbreaking. I have been reading articles on how we, individually in our own little way, can help out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you started with van Gogh — the moral compass seems to be shattered during such times. You capture the modern way of life in such a potent manner — the screens make it so easy for us to forget what is actually happening and all that we are reaping through our continued exploitation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Although I like being able to read books on my Kindle and keep in touch with my daughter and grandson on Messenger, I prefer letters, postcards and talking face to face o r, at least, on a landline. The anticipation and the sound of the letterbox still cause my heart to flutter. besides, a mobile phone keyboard is far too small for my clumsy fingers!


  3. Hello Kim- Indeed, when will we wake up and see? I too, am doing what I can, because the amount of plastic that is dumped into the ocean is unbelievable. Small steps can amount to big ones, if enough people take them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the reasons for our throwaway existence is lack of time because humans want to do everything ,be every everywhere and have everything -immediately. I love living life at a slower pace.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. I really dislike selfies; for me they sum up the disregard humans have for their environment. I’ve never taken a selfie but, have been in two, albeit a couple of years ago. I prefer pictures of land- and city-scapes.


  4. “Broken” is the operative word here. Our country, our belief in science, our media, our planet–all broken. Back in the 50s, remember, we blamed the Russians for changes in the weather. I find it expedient to blame Trump for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just don’t know Kim? It is a human tendency towarddenisl, when so overwhelmed as to not know how to react. But this sure as hell is an absolutely necessary time to buck tendencies. Great poem here and great photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your question is too difficult and radical for a technologically dependent, fossil-fuel addicted civilization like the human one. We won’t give up cellphones and air conditioners and TV sets, opting instead for comfort as we head over the falls. A nicely compressed analysis of a doom.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The infusion of Van Gogh’s quote is a perfect analogy. Yes, who will fix the compass? I think we put more energy into asking than truly figuring it out… time ticks on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mish. Scientists have been writing about this for a long time now, I read articles and papers on the future of the planet back in the seventies, and if more people had listened then, maybe things wouldn’t be as bad as they are. It’s human beings who caused the mess and they have to get us out of it before nature takes its course – and it won’t be pretty.


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