Little Ways to Heal the Planet

My mother told us—
“If you turn the light on,
then turn the light off.
Learn to love the dark
you will reside there
soon enough.”

She insisted we earn
a shower—
“worked up a sweat, did you,
sitting in your chair reading?”
And reminded us that cold
water cleaned
as well as hot.

Mom told us
It was the little things—
conserve, conserve
conserve and sabotage
a coal refinery.

Dad told us we might
take the car
only If we had a definite place to go—
reminding us that our two legs
were remarkably useful
for locomotion.

He taught us to repair
everything with simple tools
that fit nicely in your hand.
“This was once expensive,”
he often said,
“and doesn’t belong
in a landfill.”

Dad told us
it was the little things.
Do it yourself, do it yourself
do it yourself and short-circuit
the power grid

My grandmother—
a woman of kindness
and depth,
taught us to read
by candlelight—
her mantra—
“better than tv.”

She’d say it was
the little things.
and taught us to
meditate and to make
bombs from leftover
household products.
“All power to the people”
she’d shout from her
rocker—raising her
arthritic fist as high as
she might.

On Silver Birch Press

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2 Responses to Little Ways to Heal the Planet

  1. maryrohrerdann says:

    Love that last stanza, especially making bombs from leftover cleaning products!

    Mary Rohrer-Dann
    Author, Taking the Long Way Home, Kelsay Books, 2021

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
    Mary Oliver — The Summer Day

    From: Stevie’s Law
    Reply-To: Stevie’s Law
    Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 10:39 PM
    To: “Rohrer-Dann, Mary Catherine”
    Subject: [New post] Little Ways to Heal the Planet

    stevieslaw posted: ” My mother told us—“If you turn the light on,then turn the light off.Learn to love the darkyou will reside theresoon enough.” She insisted we earna shower—“worked up a sweat, did you,sitting in your chair reading?”And reminded us that coldwater cleaned”


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