Listen to Drought Who Comes to Teach




Listen as our planet’s worries seep
onto dry land, the cracks of aging Earth.
No longer able to support her growth,
she’s faced, instead, with slow, incipient death.
Drought silences pure hope of her rebirth.
How, wonders she, shall she support new life.

Look closely, see the subtle signs of life.
Allow your hope to flow, at least to seep
into our land, so longing for rebirth.
Creation casts its lot upon the Earth
to stop the onslaught of impending death.
We wait, in vain, for rain to nourish growth.

Observe the baby duckling’s daily growth,
the blooming of our Jasmine’s fragrant life—
aware, the while, of nature’s dance with death
as life-force takes its leave and slowly seeps
away to make a place upon the earth.
Wake up in awe as springtime brings rebirth.

Now, hold your breath before the lands’ rebirth
and watch for blooms unfolding as new growth,
but pray for rain to fall once more on Earth,
to give the West the promise of new life.
Don’t let despair allow our world to seep
in entropy to reign, succumb to death.

Remember there’s a meaning to each death.
The seed that’s fallen offers us rebirth.
The song of birds into this morning seeps
to speak of joy to come and foretell growth.
Let not that joy deceive our quest for life
as drought casts doubt upon our fragile Earth.

We share responsibility for Earth,
the consequence of choices that bring death.
The future looks to us to care for life.
(Our children’s children are our own rebirth).
On us depends our world’s on-going growth
that truth we share in each of us may seep.

Bring life to Earth and tend to her rebirth
and bow to death who brings to us new growth.
Care for each life lest sweet Earth’s wounds shall seep.

Here in the West we face a terrible drought that has brought increased awareness to our need to conserve water.

When I face “word-drought” I like to turn to form poetry to find the discipline needed to write again. This is a Sestina in Iambic Pentameter. It is a first draft. The word “seep” was supposed to be “seed.” I couldn’t read my own writing. Seep is not an easy word for ending a sentence.

Written for and Linked to dVerse Poets’ Open Link Night. I hope you will join us to read and to bring a poem of your own.



29 thoughts on “Listen to Drought Who Comes to Teach

  1. Just popping in to say hello and I am thinking of you – hope the week has been uneventfully nice and that the weekend brings you and your husband calm weather & beautiful skies. K


  2. ayala says:

    Gorgeous poem!


  3. I’m quite nervous for our earth… global warming, droughts…. people, too… we not only need to be good to each other, but good to grounds we walk on as well.


  4. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    Beautifully executed.. 😀
    Loved the imagery… so vibrant and full of life!
    Loved it 😀


  5. Abhra says:

    Bring life to Earth and tend to her rebirth – so true Victoria. I have seen deserts and now I am living in a place where it is surrounded by extreme dry lands and people are more concerned about expanding the city than anything else.


  6. Oh I do love a well-written sestina. Really challenging end-words too. The draughts in the US.. But actually the opposite in Africa at the moment.. Change for sure, and learning to cope is essential.


  7. rmp says:

    lovely…you wove this form quite well. I was quite impress with the use of seep (even before your note), especially when it ended the stanza. I can see how focusing on structure can help allay the “word-drought.”


  8. kaykuala says:

    Bring life to Earth and tend to her rebirth
    and bow to death who brings to us new growth.

    Beautiful lines Victoria! Life must go on irrespective of how life is treating oneself!



  9. Alex Dissing says:

    This is a beautiful extended metaphor that stemmed from a real & current problem. We can’t control what the weather does but we can certainly control how we treat the world we live in. I hope you guys get some rain down there!


  10. Victoria – I like the happenstance of seep sneaking in – it worked and would have been a different poem with seed instead.
    The drought is just horrifying – and fire will soon plague the west with all the brush and undergrowth tender dry.
    Hope some spring rain makes its way to your home – have a good weekend! K


  11. Myrna Rosa says:

    Victoria your poem hit home in more ways than one. I love the hope you plant with your words while being clear about the danger the earth is in. Here in the Southwest, we suffer from chronic drought too. You’ve written something very meaningful and in such a beautiful way.


  12. wolfsrosebud says:

    such details today… glad you had some time to write… sorry about the dought


  13. I quite like seep and well done on a complex pentameter form but even more so an very powerful poem with a purpose.


  14. kelvin s.m. says:

    This is a wonderful sestina, Victoria! Writing to forms is something I can still do today but choose not to do it. My adoration & respect are high to those who can tame a form in a poem in an effortless & flawless way, & you are no exception.. your work here really delivers the topic so very well. It’s too hot in here either… no close to drought (thank goodness) but still too hot to endure. Smiles. Thanks for the poem!


  15. This is a heart-rending sestina, beautifully written. The form doesn’t impede the flow – which it often can. My fears for the Earth are similar to yours, though floods are more likely here than drought. We are at the mercy of climate which man has done so much to harm.


  16. MarinaSofia says:

    What an excellent strategy, to turn to formal rhythm and rhyme when you are experiencing a writing drought. And that parallel works quite well – and I love the ‘happenstance’ of the word ‘seep’. You did very well with your mistake!
    With Greek and Romanian family, we experience droughts every summer and I have seen first-hand the disastrous effects on farmland and animals. But it’s certainly becoming a more widespread feature… alongside flooding in other parts of the world!


  17. Gretchen says:

    This is an intense read. I can feel a lot of passion and sadness behind your words. The repetition builds momentum for me. Nicely done.


  18. Dusty Writes says:

    I can’t imagine facing a drought–scary; I take water for granted, I confess. I liked what you said about word-drought, and using forms to assist–I’ve done that too, and agree that it helps to prime my pump.


  19. rosross says:

    I love the image and the poem although I don’t believe the world is facing climate change as so many believe. A lot of the problems in the US for instance are due not so much to changed weather, since records anyway are but a nanosecond in the life of the earth and so reveal very little, but because cities have been built in deserts; crops have been planted in deserts; infrastructure is energy dependent and water supplies, above and below ground, have been sucked dry.

    If you read the histories, again, in earth times, recent, you see such climate ‘changes’ as regular events and geology, marine and earth, backs this up. After all, when the Romans occupied Britain it was much warmer in the south and they grew vines and made wine.

    Having said that, if focus on climate makes people more ecologically responsible then all to the good. I just feel there is a bit too much fear, paranoia and propaganda involved.


  20. claudia says:

    i have heard in the news about the drought in cali… you took it much further though in your verse to a metaphorical level as well… i too hope that the signs that our planet is sending us makes us re-think the way we live…


  21. Grace says:

    I specially admire this line:

    Remember there’s a meaning to each death.

    I can’t wait for earth’s rebith ~ Such a lovely sestina ~


  22. kanzensakura says:

    I’ve heard of how they use non-potable water for gardening. (puffing out my chest) I have been doing this for years. It takes extra thought and much effort but in the summer and such when I water my garden, I do it on laundry day. My husband laughs when I pull my wet clothes from the rinse cycle just before spin to put in a big plastic tub and then siphon the rinse water to another tub outside, I put the clothes back in to spin and then start watering my garden. I also use PVC pipes between the plants so the water goes more deeply to the roots than spreading on the surface. And my veggies love it!!!!!! And I feel good about no waste water or next to none. My husband does laugh but he brags (secretly) to his friends, especially when we share a basket of veggies as a thank you for dinner gift. AND…you totally rocked the sestina!!!!!


  23. billgncs says:

    yes, we need to be good stewards of the earth.


  24. Gabriella says:

    “We share responsibility for Earth,
    the consequence of choices that bring death.” We – at leat most of us – seem to know this and yet we do so little to bring about meaningful changes.


  25. This drought does have meaning. Rather than fighting it (we can’t), we should, as you say, try to understand how to work with sweet Earth to live in as much balance with her as we can.

    And I like the idea that there are all kinds of drought: words, ideas, emotions…you are so wise.


  26. Mary says:

    Victoria, indeed our planet has so much to worry about. I have been hearing about the plight of the West as far as water goes. It seems that so much is used to grow crops (which the rest of us depend on) and also the green up the golf courses for the pleasure of humankind. It is very hard not to despair when no solution seems imminent… I hope to be hopeful that out of death will come the rebirth that is needed!


  27. Glenn Buttkus says:

    I have actor friends in S. CA. who have torn up their lawns, & let gravel, sand, & succulents rule, & they seem to like the change. All over the Southwest, brown is the new green; water is for drinking, cooking, & bathing, not to green lawns; but what are the golf courses doing?


    • About 40% have switched to reclaimed, non-potable water. A number of them have closed due to the expense of maintenance and dwindling membership. All of them are working on conservation measures as mandated by the Gov.last week–25% for most, 35% here in Coachella Valley. Lots of the common grounds here and personal residences are gone to xeri-scaping. It really is quite stunning and would be what I would like to do if we could afford it right now. Most likely in Reno we will begin to do exactly that. Our maple tree in the front yard is dying and I vote to replace it with xeri-scaping. We shall see.


  28. dragonkatet says:

    I think this was beautifully wrought, Victoria! Seep is indeed a tough word, but you make the form seem effortless, and it is a fitting word for such a harsh subject. Some friends and I will be doing our own “rain dance” on the 12th for you guys out there in CA. I hope and pray you will get rain soon! Good poem to not give up hope and raise awareness.


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