by Lauren Cooper
(1964 - 1999)

Oh, what wonders I perceive:  Nature's marvelled hand
Cleaving paths of loveliness through a barren land.
What is it that she sees in us that her fingers gently move
To point this grim, destructive race along the ways she loves?

Why does she rise so willingly out of the halls of sleep
To help us when we fall into turmoiled waters deep?
Why, with her gentle kindness, does she so constantly repay
Our hardened hearts for disrespect; our filth along her way?

She wants our souls for heaven, not for another hell -
Although some people argue that she is sin as well.
She always contrives to convey, with simplicity of hue,
The free gifts of the Father that we disregard and throw

Away the many joys of.  Still nature guides us on,
Prepared amidst her anguish to raise the morning sun;
Prepared, despite her agony of unrequitted love,
To forgive, forget our ignorance;
to love us though we're rough.

She cries each time an insect is smashed upon the wall;
She dies each time we slaughter geese for some banquet hall;
She faints when we ruthlessly bleed the waters of their life,
Yet still she never thinks of self:  She gives us power for strife.

She loathes the flying metal tips slung out into her space,
Yet still she won't abandon weak man in his disgrace.
She watches as we build upon the graves of things she's grown,
Yet seldom does she quake the earth and bring those houses down.
But how long will she linger?  We cannot always win
Sweet nature's billion blessings - her patience must grow thin.

Surely our rude, immoral ways wring from her lips great groans,
And who could blame that spotless bride if she flattened all our homes?
Live on, sweet lass:  Your baby form, your late-youth or old-age,
Is consolation when I think of man's dark rampage.
But how did you find the courage to so ruefully create
Such a ruin as is man:  His selfishness; his hate?

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