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

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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,

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.

Image credit: NASA