The Lichen's Lament

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
What if there were a parliament of things, in which EVERYTHING - trees, chairs, nits, dogs, red bricks you name it - gets a say about the fate of the world? And what, then, would lichen have to say for themselves?

Submitted: May 03, 2017

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Submitted: May 03, 2017



There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes

(George Gordon, Lord Byron. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage)


The death of sensitive lichens [...] in an area can be an early warning that air quality is deteriorating.

(Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece. Biology)


The Lichen's (Perhaps-Not-So-) Lament

Sing, o Muse! Or – wait, this feels wrong –

  Yet grandeur, we feel, does rhyme with our view.

We warn you, this won't be a jolly song

  Still our voice, though humble, must be heard too.

We haven't much time: the world won't be long –

  So off we'll start, without further ado;

Parliament members, we address you now;

Be you chair, windowpane, madman, or cow.


We are the lowly lichen, and't may be

  You've seen us on rock, tree or patio.

We consist of sev'ral organisms; three:

  Alga, bacteria and fungus – and so,

We've been around for a while now, you see.

  Around four hundred million years ago

We'd discovered; if we cooperate

There's no land that we couldn't cultivate.


Yet since the nineteenth century started

  Something strange happened to our habitat.

We'd been able to handle all beings that farted –

  No issues with changes in Earth's thermostat –

Never a moan – we're really bighearted –

  'Till someone thought up fossil fuel; 'twas bad –

For now did our delicate sisters complain:

We're fucking dying here – this is profane!!”


We've gathered we're not alone in our plight,

  Many a creature faces starvation

'Cause madmen have thought they possess a right

  For some odd form of world-domination.

Now others have said that it drains Nature's might –

  That madmen will cause our Globe's damnation –

But we would like to remind the nutter

In the end it's you who'll go down with the cutter.


The thing is; though lichens don't all deal too well

  With living in air that is polluted

We've been around for so long – we'll be swell

  In rugged conditions our species' stay rooted.

But crazies, for yourself you're making Earth hell,

  Your environment for you unsuited.

'Ma Nature will conquer, remember that,

So go ahead nutters, do naught, be fat;


For lichens who'll perish, we'll certainly cry,

  Our fam'ly, you know, it is quite the size –

Really, though, one thing we must not belie

  Even while as we speak, our kind, it dies,

At the end, we'll be there, down low and up high,

  Rain forests will grow from where we did rise,

The nutters, we tell you, they won't survive –

All nutters will die, and lichens will thrive.


We'll grow on houses; on streets; patios

  Clear down the stone; make space for shrubbery;

So as the once-nutjobs all decompose,

  Turning into something more... Blubbery,

All manner of soil-creatures munching their toes,

  Nature will bloom, for all – but them – to see.

Parliament members! This is our rapport;

We love not man the less, but Nature more.”


Thank you.

© Copyright 2019 LP. All rights reserved.

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