This poem came out of the September 2013 Crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from perfectworry
. It also fills the "last words" square in my card
for the origfic_bingo
fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette."Treppenwitz der Weltscheiße"
The climate change deniers
carried the argument
right over a cliff
like so many lemmings.
In the end,
it was the methane that did it:
melting permafrost sent trees tilting
and trapped gasses bubbling up
to overheat the atmosphere.
an ignominious, sweaty death.
As the souls were all
crowding into the afterlife,
recriminations flew back and forth
like broad-bladed arrows.
As the death-escorts watched
with thinly veiled amusement,
a respected researcher from the
Austrian Permafrost Research Initiative
backed a cringing denier against a cloud
and snarled in heated tones,
"I told you
that the drunken forests
were heading for a tipping point!"
* * * Notes: Treppenwitz
is a term for "staircase wit" or a perfect retort that is thought of too late. The poem's title is a riff on "Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte"
("staircase joke of world history").Scheiße
is German for "shit." Hence "Staircase Wit of the Shit of the World." (Thanks to yamx
for help with the translation.)Permafrost releasing methane
is one concern of climate change.Drunken forests
occur when permafrost melts, leaving trees without enough support, so that they lean in different directions.This scientist
working with the Austrian Permafrost Research Initiative was another inspiration for the poem.