This picture is of glass sculpture in Tacoma, Washington and reminds me of both a reef and glaciers. I love the artist Chihuly's celebration of nature's diversity and extravagance.
Great Barrier Reef
When I read the headlines that
the Great Barrier Reef
is dead or dying
I think how can I miss something
I have never known?
Can I lament coral when I have
never swam above its lacy forests,
never seen even one of its inhabitants,
not the seventeen kinds of snakes nor six turtles,
couldn’t tell the difference between
the loggerhead or leatherback or flatback,
the green sea, hawksbill, or Olive Ridley.
It is the same longing my retinas have
for the chalky aquamarine veins in glaciers,
my eardrums reverberate to creaking moans,
even though I haven't been to Alaska or Antartica.
Here where I live,
I miss the thunder of buffalo herds
across the Eastern Washington plains,
miss being surrounded by trees
my clan could barely encircle
while holding hands.
It is estimated up to 87 percent
of the old-growth forest
in the Pacific Northwest is gone.
I miss the smell of salmon carcasses,
rivers jumping alive.
I wonder when people
lived before air travel or television,
before National Geographic magazine and Magellan,
if the Aztec considered the hush of a Celtic forest,
if the Englander dreamt of
blue corn ripening in August sun.
Deep in DNA, they must have.
The expiration of the Douglas Fir
is the inhalation of the African elephant,
the North American bald eagle
drinks from the Amazon.