ode to microbialites

first breathers,
imperiled neighbors—
you rise from the shallows
in ancient forms
a diversity of architects
building layer upon layer of life

metabolizers of light—
behold your living edge
you nurture brine shrimp and brine flies
who fill grebes and stilts,
phalaropes, avocets, and cliff swallows
you sing through the wing bones of seagulls
thank you for each feathered citizen
thank you for filling the air with flight

saline corals,
great sustainers—
behold your delicate rhythms
your time-bending
and slow growth
you were here before handcarts and causeways
before state parks, airports, and apps
before we began to make weather
you took centuries to form 
we did not create you
may we take in the fact
that we cannot remake you

platforms of life
holy origins—
may we humble ourselves
before you as your descendants
may we find reverence
for we are latecomers
diverting your waters
if we don’t cease
you will perish
may we bring water in time

© Nan Seymour 2021
This verse is Part 3 of the collective praise poem: irreplaceable


  • This is such a moving and meaningful poem! Sculpture with words. Thank you.

    Lynn Carroll 17 November 2021 Lynn Carroll
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  • I love the way you create beautiful imagery with words while being accurate both historically and scientifically.

    Scott Baxter 17 November 2021 Scott Baxter
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