I Would Like Your Advice

I would like your advice, those of you who came home from the wars in coffins.
I would like your advice, you people of a different religion, who were shot by the guns of hatred in Srebrenica, and Katyn, and Wounded Knee.
I would like your advice, those of you who lie so quietly and listen to the waves rolling along the shore of Normandy.
The living, you see, are busy with their shopping, and the Big Game in the third quarter on the forty-second yard line, and filling the tank with gas.
Our minds grew numb in history class in high school, and our hearts never registered it at all.
I feel less lonely, walking in cemeteries, where the truth is buried and the passionate hearts are stilled.

And now, having so successfully killed each other, we turn upon the planet itself. What need have grandchildren not yet born for polar bears no longer living?
What need have we of a healthy sea? The cradle of life had its day.
And if the snows no longer fall in the mountains, and the creeks and streams and rivers in spring turn into troughs of mud, we still have Nascar, going around and around and around.
The Greeks wrote about Oedipus and his father, but the greatest hubris of all is to murder your mother.

I would like your advice, you children with fingers so dexterous on the buttons.
You who so blithely refuse to read, and you who cherish every word:
What poems will you write, on the day that you realize
That once you had a choice?

John Slade