We live on shaky ground

our ancestors came from far away

settled these parts and moved west

abandoned homes and fields

for new opportunity

Move on! Move on!

build roads and bridges

and change the course of rivers

send messages along wires to other places

build steam engines and boats

skyscrapers and light bulbs

change reality and

night into day


(the earth is alive. It responds to what we do to it.)


we live on shaky ground

bulldozers push dirt and trees, rocks and roots

tumbling over and onto itself

tornadoes pound and shatter poles and wires, houses and buildings

water erodes banks and acid rain

kills trees at high altitudes


(We are ungrounded, not sure where we belong.)


We live on shaky ground

ground that moves from tectonic waves

alive with lava boiling beneath

wind and thunder shake our floors

lightning whips and snaps

lights the night sky

jets roar and scream

tear apart the air

jackhammers pound, sirens wail

trains rumble and whine

cars and trucks endlessly hiss and cry

“I’m going there! I’m going there!”

Their faces are blank, their stare cold,

anonymous  (Nobody takes responsibliity for environmental damage.)


We live on shaky ground

ground which is unstable

could rip apart or  boulders fall

onto the highway–cut down trade and commerce

the ghosts of slaughtered buffalo

stampede the prairie at night


we build taller, stronger

push over mountains, hold back the rivers

spew refuse into the air and ground

the shaky ground-unstable-could settle

and cause a catastrophe

a national emergency

the President would fly to

the flooded or earth-quaked place

and camera crews shoot footage

the nation gawk

at the town built on

shaky ground, too close to

the river or on a fault


We live on shaky ground.

Things will change.

Nothing lasts forever.