One Poem by Robin Chapman

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Dear Ones—this is the day after the end
of the world, Mayan calendar turning over,
12/21/12, like Y2K in our shorter-lived century,
and the poets are meeting to celebrate niches
in our lives for making art—those Edens
behind glass where sunlight stretches
across the floor, those pigeon-holed desks
offering up all the mind’s shelved categories,
that long candle-lit table for gathering, the walls
hung with art from many hands—though these
spaces, too, are fragile, ephemeral, arise and vanish,
while all the while our busy traffic, landfill gases,
burning cookfires are somewhere ending the local
worlds we know—our rain and snow, our winds
and soil, our trees and crops, our breathable air,
our drinkable water—so perhaps the doom-sayers
were right, though I’ve rushed out to write checks
for trees and bees in far countries and sit here now
following Walt Whitman’s advice to his soul,
tallying Earth’s soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,
sending in an order for prairie seed, resolving to eat
lentils not beef, take the bus that goes by my door—
refusing the beautiful poetry of grief for the grit
of belief we can push back the date if we choose.




Robin Chapman’s poems have appeared recently in About Place Journal, The Common Online, Tamsen, Blueline Literary Magazine, and Flyway. Author of eight books of poetry and recipient of the 2010 Appalachia Poetry Prize, she has a ninth collection, Six True Things, forthcoming from Tebot Bach, about her childhood in the Manhattan Project town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Read more poetry by Robin Chapman appearing in Dappled Things: Five Poems by Robin Chapman + Five Photogravures by Peter Miller, one poem from Issue 34, and one poem from Issue 25.

Photo of Mayan Haab calendar courtesy Wikipedia.

Departures is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.