Credit NASA: Muir Glacier 1941/2004
As Mighty Glaciers Recede (Durham 1*)
As mighty glaciers recede
and leave great scars which cause alarm;
Be sure it is the rising heat
Of greenhouse gasses causing harm.
When coastal glaciers discharge
Their rapid melt, to chilly seas:
We know, that ocean levels will
Rise swiftly and inexorably.
By contrast, mountain glaciers
cause havoc through reduced cascades,
so downstream waters can’t suffice
to turn hydraulic turbine blades.
We need to switch from fossil fuels
To wind and wave and solar power:
Renewables already can
make all these risks a little lower.
For everyone who loves the earth
Clean energy must be the aim,
To strengthen hope the planet can
Be saved through this essential change.
For as such massive change takes place
The least resourced will bear the toll
Of harshness in the furious wake
Of worsening weather through the world.
* I would like to thank Professor Chris Stokes in the Geography Department at Durham University for his help in inspiring the idea of writing about glaciers and ensuring the accuracy of the scientific aspects of this poem: composed during my stay at St John’s College as Visiting Fellow for the term.