Reluctant Kings: a poem for the Anthropocene

We were born to be reluctant kings,
inheriting a life of technological privilege
and terrible, the dreadful weight of responsibility
and guilt.
We cannot simply live, and follow natural urge.
We must think deeply, and broadly.
Our kingdom awaits our every utterance.
Our every whim may shatter another’s life.
For humans, forced to be Gods,
cannot pretend
we are without power.
Could we run away?
The kingdom, unasked for.
A life of wealth,
so hard to turn away.
A life of ease in body’s comfort.
The price, for never our minds to rest,
Or acting without consequence,
The mob,
Will turn on us.

© Janey Colbourne 2017

I was contemplating how it is for the next generation, being born into the technological age, the Age of the Anthropocene, and how, being born into that privilege, it is hard to imagine life without it, but on the other hand, as they grow up, they will discover the legacy of environmental destruction, and the responsibilities they have to face, which they did not choose, but were born into. I was moved to write this poem, comparing their fate, and their dilemma, to that of kings.

Here it is, in Spoken Word form, on YouTube


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