Suburban Pastoral; Rejoinder; Anniversary; prayer for the young

prayer for the young

& now the strident are strident about all the stridency
meta-screeds acid-etching each earthly beauty
into carnal indulgence      even the toyon berries
diploid with raindrops     even the sweet pudding pulp
of the ripest persimmon     even the tang
of eucalyptus in rain     yes there is cancer
caused by factory runoff     & war     & ever
more cancer & war     yes in our rich land
the same people get shot & deported & stay poor
& the earth endlessly burns     yes we have killed
cecil the lion     & wiped out entire species of fish
with the micro-beads in the paste that polishes our teeth
yes the years once lay before us like a banquet
of tulip-shaped glasses stroked to resonance
& singing their million crystalline promises     kept
for one or two nights before the shards got carted away
but may I say     you need not foreswear     everything
need not take up our lament     tear your hair
flail the poor bleeding backs born decades too late
to have caused any of this     somewhere war
followed peace     & will be followed by peace again
somewhere a sad clown-faced lion still paces the veldt
& you will be loved with all the tenderness you crave
a life is a line containing an infinity of points like this one
but none with any specific gravity     the liars
will say this does not apply     O do not listen to them
& their naysaying     may you live long     you young bitter ones
may you live long     & learn to cherish even the blighted hours