Poetry from Christopher Bernard

Image from Stakeholder 360

Image from Stakeholder 360

Mother Earth

“…‘our Sister, Mother Earth’ … now cries out to us, …
burdened and laid waste …”— Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

You throned us in your belly
down countless generations,
unfolded us to the light, fed at your breast
the children in us that grew to be women and men.
You taught us wonders:
each star in the night, each flower in the morning,
singing and beauty, each word, each thought,
the rites of courtesy, discipline of goodness;
praised us, scolded us, comforted us, held us.
All thanks to you, Mother Earth, all thanks to you.

The sun strides across the sky.
The birds pierce the air.
The rain startles the ground.
The seas are renewed without end.
The mountains dream in the morning.
The flowers are boundless.
All thanks to you, Mother Earth, all thanks to you.

And in return, what have we done?
We have cut out the heart of the world,
in man’s mad cunning, and burned it.
We have ransacked your home and fouled it,
and we have set your house on fire,
destroying the loom of the earth that made us,
the seed we grew from, the withered blossoms.
We are like a drunken man driving fast toward midnight,
intent on destruction out of a nameless resentment.
Forgive us, Mother Earth. Forgive us.

Free us.
Free us from our darkness,
the fear and need that drive us,
the cowardice and greediness of desire,
our craven weakness before brutality;
cast out the insanity of mankind,
past the crimes that strew our lives,
our refusal to see
the evils that are ours alone.
Save us, Mother Earth. Save us.

Show us the way—remember when we were children?—
of holy life.
Teach us how to walk again
lightly upon the earth.
Teach us to heal when you are ailing,
to comfort when you grieve
and no longer make you weep in the trammels of the night.
Free mankind from itself, Mother Earth,
and teach us to be loving to you forever.

All thanks to you. Forgive us. Save us.


Christopher Bernard is the author of the forthcoming novel Voyage to a Phantom City, to be published by Regent Press in 2016. He lives in San Francisco.