The sky above this earth
Is our own living skin
The ultimate film of protection
Over our lands, our seas
Over all our dreams,
The kindest shelter from
What’s out there.
Now and in the world
Of our children and theirs
Each breath we take
Allows us to partake unknowingly
Of the same atoms of oxygen
Breathed by our foremothers and fathers,
By rich and poor, by famous and forgotten
And with all the other creatures,
Our companions from time immemorial
On this marvellous blue and green planet.
But now our blessed protector,
That gentle skin around us
Is sick and poisoned in many places
Choked or flaring yellow and orange
And bright red with the fires and fumes
From all our machines, impregnated
With the pus of the gangrene with
Which we have harried and choked it.
But not beyond repair, not yet
In places, we have shown respect
And the gaping holes have repaired
And closed and resuscitated themselves
We have another breathing space now
From hurling pell-mell into the oblivion
Let’s use this time!