#PoetryFriday–Strike for Global Climate Change!

1a-Tree poem and art Strike Global Climate change 3-14-2019

Happy Poetry Friday!


Today, March 15, 2019, Heidi Mordhorst is hosting the Poetry Friday Round Up, at her blog my juicy little universe. Heidi asked us to create poems and posts promoting the Climate Strike that is happening around the world in 112 countries, led by students in High School and Middle School. This Youth #climatestrike was initiated by Swedish environmental activist student, Greta Thunberg, now sixteen, and who is actively working to stop global climate change. Another group Greta is involved with is #fridays4future.

Locally in Chicago the “Chicago Area Peace Action (CAPA) is joining the US Climate Strike, (“US Youth Climate Strike is a youth-led movement that was started by three middle & high school students who were inspired by … Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for our Future” #ClimateStrikes)” as they lead a strike from Grant Park to the Federal Building at 11am. The March is also an effort to help the US Youth Climate Strike, bring “ClimateStrikes to the US,” and “build power and public support for a #GreenNewDeal and a just climate future.”

I pulled some of the source material for my poem from Jennifer Wilcox’s Ted Talk: “A new way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.” It’s a fascinating talk, under 15 minutes and well worth your time. 


Strike for all that’s green and all that wants to grow.
Strike for humans, animals, insects, plants, and all of nature.
Strike for our air that’s begging to be cared for.
Strike for our waters that need to run clear and clean.
Strike for our ocean’s temps to stop rising.
Strike for our trees that fill the air with oxygen,
Capture Carbon, eliminate ground level ozone,
sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon dioxide.
Strike to plant more trees for trees remove Humid Hazes that
“trap heat, reduce visibility, and increase respiratory illness.”
Strike for the idea of Carbon Capturing man-made forests
to assist with our Global Climate Crisis.
Strike for Carbon capturing forests that could reduce the
amount of CO2 in the air by 5%, which equals the amount
produced by airplanes and trucks.
Strike for the acceptance of Global Climate Change.
Strike for a US commitment to fund Global Climate Change.
Strike  for Global Climate Change!

© 2019 Michelle Kogan

Below I’ve included two poems by Denise Levertov who was very involved in the politics and concerns of our environment.

by Denise Levertov

We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension—though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,

Read the rest of the poem here.
Urgent Whisper
by Denise Levertov
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,

Read the rest of the poem here.

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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13 Responses to #PoetryFriday–Strike for Global Climate Change!

  1. Perfect choice for today, Michelle.

  2. lindabaie says:

    So many things to be concerned about, ‘our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute’. I am concerned for all, but most worried for my grandchildren and their children. Well said, Michelle.

  3. jama says:

    Thanks for your poem and art, and for sharing Levertov’s poems, too. I’m so heartened and inspired by Greta’s leadership and activism. It is good to see young people mobilized and committed.

  4. laurashovan222 says:

    Oh, “Urgent Whisper” is powerful and true. Thank you for sharing it, Michelle.

  5. Tabatha says:

    “the dancing pilgrimage of water” “something tethered in us…breaks free” — Levertov is such a beautiful poet. Nice picks, Michelle.

  6. Oh good heavens–your Strike! litany is so invigorating, and Denise’s two poems extraordinary: how they carry on the conversation inside me day to day of glory and terror.

  7. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, thank you for the many reminders of what we need to do to have a brighter environmental future. This section struck me in light of all the illnesses that have occurred on Long Island since January: Strike to plant more trees for trees remove Humid Hazes that
    “trap heat, reduce visibility, and increase respiratory illness.”
    The second poem is one to reflect upon, especially the last stanza.

  8. maryleehahn says:

    The things that scare me most are the possibility of an insect apocalypse and the heating of the oceans. On second thought, it ALL scares me the most, and you’ve captured ALL of it so well in your poem. Come on, people! Let’s get to work!

  9. The repetition of “Strike” in your poem is a powerful rally cry, Michelle! I also loved “Urgent Whisper” —so haunting.

  10. Tara Smith says:

    A wonderful call to action poem, Michelle. Thanks for sharing Levertov’s poems, as well – she wrote so hauntingly about nature’s fleeting gifts.

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