It could be the râle of Earth’s tight chest,
her lungs scarred from old fevers, and she asleep-
but there’s no news from the seismographs,
the crystal pendant
hangs plumb from its hook;
and yet at times (and I whisper because
it’s a fearful thing I tell you)
a subtle shudder has passed
from outside me into my bones,
up from the ground beneath me,
beneath this house, beneath
the road and the trees:
a silent delicate trembling no one has spoken of,
as if a beaten child or a captive animal
lay waiting the next blow.
It comes from the Earth herself, I tell you,
Earth herself. I whisper
because I’m ashamed. Isn’t the earth our mother?
Isn’t it we who’ve brought
this terror upon her?