There will come soft rains and and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire.
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last, when it is done.
Not one will mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly.
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
Very Victorian, I know, but it reminds me of Spring, in an ominous way. She killed herself, like her former poet-lover Vachel Lindsay. But this poem also reminds me of man's ignorance (at all times, but especially) during the nuclear age.
We've been thinking of heading out to the Farallon Islands (26 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge) for a day trip on the boats (Mike's and Jacob's), and I just read that between 1946 and 1970, at least 80,000 55-gallon drums of radioactive waste (some from Lawrence Livermore lab) were dumped at the marine sanctuary. Also, the USS Independence, an aircraft carrier used as a target at the Bikini atoll atom bomb tests, was sunk off the islands (among other wrecks). The estimated half-life of the nuclear waste is 3 billion years. And the proximity of the San Andreas Fault to the area is a concern for scientists, as a major event could rupture the drums (some of which were apparently shot at while being sunk).
The Farallones (or "rocks" in Spanish) are the largest breeding colony of seabirds in the lower 48 states, home to the world's largest colony of a couple of endangered bird species, and to a huge variety of pellagic (blue whales, dolphins, great white sharks, etc) and pinniped (elephant seals, sea lions, etc) wildlife. There's a research facility on the islands now, but landings by the public are prohibited, now that the islands are under federal protection.
Tragic. Little did Ms. Teasdale know of the depths of humans' appetite for destruction. I don't think I'll be eating any of the fish caught out there (although at the rate we're going, is there any safe food anymore?).