Who will speak for the glaciers?
Who will try to understand them?
They are not alive, but they are dying.
They are not mere rock and ice -- they move, they listen, they speak.
Let us try to understand them and learn from them,
Like the little bird we found awaiting the sunrise at 15,000 feet,
Like the insects which somehow find their way up there,
Like the leopard which climbed Kilimanjaro.
The perspectives of glaciers are not human or animal,
They know no pity or remorse. Their crevasses swallow souls like scree,
Yet without them, where would we find breath for our morals?
They are the greatest life givers,
Reservoirs for future flowers, fish, and every fiery passion –
When they are gone and the mountains are naked
Maybe then we will wonder about the wondrous ages of unmelting ice.
Maybe then we will understand their lifelessness as the cornerstone of our life.
When the rivers stop flowing,
Will the people make pilgrimage
Up through the long glacier graveyards?
Will the urbane civilization
Which fears, rejects or ignores what it cannot control and use and sell and
Convert to its comforts – will it pay its respects before it dies with them?
The future is scree:
Wastelands of scattered rocks left by avalanches.
I have seen it and walked along its growing edges.
While you sleep the glaciers melt,
By trickles and torrents preparing
A future more bleak and lifeless than the glacier,
Whose snows sparkle like stars,
Whose crevasses guard the most ancient secrets,
Whose movements sculpt horizons,
From whose lifelessness flows life,
From whose melting flows deaths,
Futures of scree and screaming,
Avalanches and then eternities of silence and stillness.
The future is scree and in avalanches, the biggest rocks come out on top --
There is no hope in this kind of apocalypse for the underdog.
So I am asking for your strongest emotion;
Your grief, your rage, your love, your fear, your readiness to sacrifice
For the dying glaciers, flowing swiftly to the ocean,
Never to return.
poem and photos by QMS
Colombia, December 2015