Invitation to Emerald
by Rachel Swirsky



In utopia, birds parade

      across skies of scarlet

            or amber, or cerulean.


Birdsong wafts in humid air,

      or silence resonates through

            tombs, parched and empty.


We all lived together once,

      collaborating to create paradise,

            but those people wanted cities


tall enough to scratch the sky,

      and those people meadows

            untouched and wide. Soon, we



      our gatherings smaller

            and smaller and


smaller, until the last

      pair quarreled over

            whether toads should croak


solemn bassoon solos

      or blurt out bright

            like wailing trumpets.


We have been

      too long alone.

            Come. Sit with me.


I'll give you lilac-scented forests if

      you give me the taste of strawberries

            tumbling fresh on summer breeze.


Our sunsets can burn emerald,

      and gravity tug like a child

            anxious and loving at our feet.


As for the rest,

      whether we should have a god,

            construct communities or reward


good fortune with applause–

      let us leave those arguments

            to other days. For now,


let us sit together

      and recall the benevolent

            joy of companionship.



About the Author:

Rachel Swirsky is a graduate student at the Iowa Writers Workshop where she's learning a lot about snow. Her poetry has appeared in markets that include Electric Velocipede, Ideomancer, Abyss & Apex, Sybil's Garage and Mothering Magazine. To learn more about her fiction and poetry, visit her website at

Ms. Swirsky wrote this poem during one of many tussles in the progressive blogosphere, in which people seemed to be dividing themselves over minor theoretical divisions. While she appreciates the importance of deeply felt beliefs, Swirsky also hopes that there will be many people to share emerald sunsets.



Poem © 2007 Rachel Swirsky. Photo by Eleassar777, 2005.