Forgive me, Mother a Lamentation — By Mary Silwance

Because I want

I dominate


take without need

devour without hunger

guzzle without thirst


pretty houses

pretty things

pretty self

yielding You made ugly

for my pretties.


Yet on the altar of reckoning,

knife point of my own extinction,

You will ask me


Why do I

drown Your waters


slash Your forests

choke the air

Your very breath?


How will I answer?


Forgive me, Mother


for I wage holocaust

on Your handiwork


eviscerate Your contours

for coal


mainline Your veins and

arteries with my hubris


cram Your nostrils and mouth

with CAFOs until Your lungs explode


rape You

in order to Google you

seed Your womb

with my refuse

then sodomize Your children

for oil


Forgive me, Mother.


I am soft and spoiled

rotten with excess,

putrid even to my pretty self


I do not notice

salmon and swallowtail

glow in reverence of You,

rhino and orangutan

nuzzle You with affection


ginseng and goldenrod

exult Your essence


sea lion and snow leopard

pay homage to You


pine and sequoia’s

fragrant gratitude of You




I sacrifice them

on the altar

of the American Dream.

~ Mary Silwance


Mary Silwance is an environmentalist, gardener and mother. She served as poetry co-editor for Kansas City Voices and is a member of the Kansas City Writers Group. Her work has appeared in Konza Journal, Descansos, Heartland: Poems, Sequestrum, Well Versed, Rock Springs Review and her blog, tonicwild.


Guest Editor Maril Crabtree’s latest poetry collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, is a 2018 Notable Kansas Book selection. In addition to three published chapbooks, her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal City Review, I-70 Review, Earth’s Daughters, and others.


4 thoughts on “Forgive me, Mother a Lamentation — By Mary Silwance

  1. I have heard the poet read this poem and what a gift!!!! I will “keep” this poem with me in my heart and in my mind. While an exceedingly difficult message is conveyed, I was left with hope as the poet ends with such beautiful examples of Nature which beg for Redemption. I am not left broken, stuck in only the damage but uplifted and directed to look and expect better ways. Just an amazing piece of poetry. Thank you.

    • Wow, Annie. Thank you for your kind words. I’m grateful the poem gave you hope for redemption. Indeed, continued work toward healing our broken relationship to our planet and all its inhabitants hinges on such hope.

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