A friend teaching retired professionals asked them to write their own versions of a well-known poem. I chose the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a long-time favorite.
Written over a hundred years ago, is it still valid?
And mine, does it mirror what the world might be like in another hundred years?
Edna St. Vincent Millay
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart, — Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me, — let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.
Is my version, in view of events today, a forecast of the future?
Oh world, once there for me to see
with summer and an occasional hail
now no more than a children’s tale.
Tidal waves, blustering winds, blistering heat
beat low what once were fields of wheat.
In vain awaits the flower for the pollinating bee,
our hopes have foundered in the polluted sea.
In that spring, now silent, our tears fall
and mingle with the tears of rain
whose acid drops are now the bane
of the poet’s pines, once flourishing and green,
of the forests most men have never seen,
but which razed to the ground have all
but left no place where a bird may call.