ON THE FIFTH DAY
by Jane Hirshfield
On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
and the ones who worked for the bees.
Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.
The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.
In gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.
Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
They spoke, the fifth day,
Each poem in the Poets for Science collection was specifically chosen by Jane Hirshfield to demonstrate the connection between poetry and science, and how each discipline can inform the work of the other
Poets for Science started on Earth Day, April 22, 2017, when demonstrators around the world participated in a March for Science in a call to support and safeguard the scientific community, fact-based decision making, basic research, and freedom of speech for scientists.
Partnering with Poets for Science founder, poet and environmental spokesperson Jane Hirshfield, the Wick Poetry Center joined the marchers at the Teach-In on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Today, Poets for Science is both an exhibit and a movement exploring the connections between poetry and science.
You can read more here: https://poetsforscience.org/the-collection