You must forgive us.
Some of us lived in denial, but others of us tried –
and failed. Mother said

it was different back then; we didn’t know, didn’t understand…
but her lips trembled,
and her voice was like frosted glass.

Now you trace ash-trodden footsteps and wonder
where it was we faltered and went adrift
into pathless territory, like rayless stars. Please

forgive us. Some of us prayed
on doorsteps, in gardens, the classroom, the cliff-edge, whilst
others spun fairy tales of eternal-economic-growth.

Empty words. They said ‘net zero’ by 2050,
food waste halved by 2030,
12% woodland cover by 2060.

They called us dramatic,
deluded, deceived,
Unplugged.

But this is our legacy:
More plastic than fish in the sea.
More fluorescent shop-light than star-light.
And more ocean microplastic than all the stars in the Milky Way.

There’s no quick-fix solution. You already know this.
You say
What kind of person___?
You say
What kind of generation___?
You say
What kind of society___?

And we say
it was different back then.