Tuesday, 26 July 2016

God, save us from a silent spring

(Tune: Gonfalon Royal)

God, save us from a silent spring*,
when sparrows are too sick to sing:
no hymns of praise announcing dawn
but muted cries as nature mourns.

When pesticides have done their worst,
when seed and soil, once blessed, are cursed,
when deserts creep where forests grew,
how can we plead we never knew?

When coral reefs all disappear,
as waters warm and acid sears,
and whales no longer sound and breach,
will seas forgive our overreach?

And what of beasts we hunt and kill
for pelts and tusks or passing thrill;
the animals that Adam named,
will they absolve us of our shame?

God, help us to apologise
for desecrating earth and skies;
for sins of pride and thanklessness,
have mercy, Lord, as we confess.

Then raise us up with Christ, we pray,
and send the dove to show the way
to know the peace of wildest things**
and celebrate a songful spring.
(Amen.)

* Silent Spring (1962), by Rachel Carson, documents the disastrous effects of pesticides on American agriculture, and is often cited as the book that launched the modern environmental movement.

** “The Peace of Wild Things” is a poem by Wendell Berry. It depicts the poet, unable to sleep for his “despair for the world”, going to a nearby pond or lake where “I come into the peace of wild things…. For a time / I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

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