Peer Review by Amani (United States)

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We Are Burning.

By: ~wildflower~


performance: https://youtu.be/CLUcmGAsqIA (I've added/changed a few things since I recorded this)


Do you hear the cries of the trees?
I don’t know how sound-waves behave 
when they travel through air that’s
saturated by smoke. 
Do you choke 
on the horror of the figures
that flash across your TV screen?
Or do you crush them with the fangs
of your powerful denial into 
bite-sized insignificance
for your personal convenience?
 
Do you feel your peoples’ hearts ache?
Or have you had to climb so high 
to reach the throne where you reside 
that you shed your purpose, 
severed the line 
to those you serve and
the dreams you’d nurtured,
the trip to power 
demanding the loss 
of this vital weight?
 
If empathy flows through our veins
like the rivers our ancestors drank
that kept their hearts and ours beating
then this land - it is weeping 
and its tears in our blood are a stain.
A stain which spreads every time 
you turn from the pain
And ignore your people’s voices 
even as their lungs strain,
day… after day… after day -
but hey, it’s okay!
You’ve got it under control and 
they’re crazy anyway.
Well let me tell you
you do not,
and they’re not,
and you’re allowing truth to rot
and already you’ve spread so far
this false comfort;
this hidden plague...
but never will you lose 
the freedom to choose
to change.
 
To choose to open your heart, 
to leave behind your past, to start
to weave your own story 
into the history 
of this problem.
Yes - you can choose to reconnect to reality,
and this land you serve, to rally
against a future that is not yet set
but approaches: a fate
that has not only been envisioned, 
but seen
for its seeds are sprouting 
in the cracks of our division.
You can crush them 
just by deciding to listen.
Will you listen?
 
Will you choose to hear 
the silent screams of unborn people like
the shrieks of the birds 
that fall from the sky like
the heat that rains upon us,
an increasing supply like
melting ice crashing into the sea like
the waves that crash into the shores, breaking 
harder than ever before -
can’t you see? 
There’re a million similes 
I could list to describe 
how the world’s crumbling before 
the averted gaze of your 
sighted eyes; 
just watch a documentary
or take a walk outside.
 
Or perhaps you have, 
and then I cannot blame you 
for struggling to believe.
It is hard to tame mistrust 
at the hands of truths 
you do not want to know,
especially when your own 
deceptions’ echoes
are crescendoing to a cacophony 
behind your carefree smile.
I know.
I, too, find it hard to admit 
to the imperfections 
of my humanity. But
progress lies beyond 
the threshold of self-righteousness
and you must take the step 
into a space of humility.
For once, this may have been your choice
but now it’s your responsibility, 
Because humility is key to honesty
and when honesty meets empathy 
born are the stones 
bound by ambition
that will rebuild the path 
to our destiny. 
 
So I beg you to transform
the shameful legacy
you're etching into the bones
of a future that’s more than your own
with the rusted edges of your 
outdated mindset.
It is my future, 
my children's story,
a novel called humanity
and you are writing the ending
erasing an era of peace
and undervalued beauty,
with your greed.
You are writing my lines for me
and for those who've not yet
touched this earth
or filled it with their pleas,
Yet silenced I will not be
for you can steal my words
but could never take my dream.
Because I believe in you.
I believe in your ability 
to do what is right
if only you would step into the light
and, yes, it is bright and
it may hurt your eyes
but it’s the only hope left
as we approach
the final precipice.
 
Because underneath
this world you’re arranging, 
destruction is raging and
each day you’re exchanging 
our comfort 
for our children’s pain.
Because the world - 
it is changing. 
And one day,
you will have to change too.
 
I am waiting. 
We are waiting.
And this room in which you are making us wait -
It is burning.
 
 


Message to Readers

I need your help! I just got back the expert review and it suggested that I consider clarifying who my poem is addressed to (it's leaders who refuse to take the necessary action against climate change). I'd really appreciate some advice or ideas on this (or any other general feedback, of course).
I was thinking of maybe adding this instead of the first line of the second stanza:
“ Do you, dear leaders, as
you lead under a senseless
sense of self interest,
feel your peoples’ hearts ache?”
Do you think that would help?

Thank you!


Peer Review

As a whole, this poem left the impression of a call to action. Each stanza showed how bad the current situation is, and why we need to fix it. I'm left feeling empowered and inspired to do something to help the cause.


My favorite line is:
"It is my future,
my children's story,
a novel called humanity
and you are writing the ending
erasing an era of peace
and undervalued beauty,
with your greed."
Every line in this poem felt like both a punch in the gut and a hug, but this one in particular. It's easy to ignore the big problems we face everyday. This line was a painful reminder that unless the situation improves soon, we aren't the only people who will have to face these issues.


There are other ways the poet could use language to help me see or understand something in a new way. I agree with the expert reviewer's suggestion to clarify who this poem is addressed to. I'm glad the author included a video with this piece. The emotions, inflections, and speaking style from it made it easier to understand who this piece is for. I love the use of figurative language in this poem, I just want more facts weaved into it, to clarify the author's intentions. I loved the line,
"Will you choose to hear
the silent screams of unborn people like
the shrieks of the birds
that fall from the sky like
the heat that rains upon us,
an increasing supply like
melting ice crashing into the sea like
the waves that crash into the shores, breaking
harder than ever before -
can’t you see? "
, for that reason. In addition to the powerful picture those words paint, it also ties into the reality that we face everyday. I'd love to see more sections like that.


When it comes to Poetry and Spoken Word, I tend to either love or hate it. In this case, I definitely felt the prior. This is a wonderful piece, and I'm excited to read more from the author in the future. :)


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