Tuesday, April 5, 2022

npm 5: fire and water, dam it



Dam It

The engineers develop complex 

drainage systems and flood-protection levees.

The engineers erect seawalls and

rock jetties to prevent erosion.

The engineers raise the park eight feet and

connect it to a series of flood-walls and gates.

The engineers raise the streets and 

sidewalks and put in pumps.

The engineers improve hurricane defenses

at a cost of $14 billion.

The beavers create wetlands by 

damming up a stream. 

The beavers build out a complex 

network of channels.

The beavers make a little patch of land, 

a lush, soggy meadow that resists wildfire.

The beavers sculpt the landscape, 

create a reservoir in a place shrunk by drought.

The beavers work for free.

draft ©HM 2022


Lines and facts for this poem taken from
"A Tale of Three Cities," by Jainey K. Bavishi
"Heaven or High Water," by Sarah Miller
"Beavers can teach researchers a thing or two about improving wildfire resistance,"


My project for NPM 2022:
This month I'm "Mak[ing] human stories to move human beings.  Human stories are more powerful for inciting action than counting carbon or detailing melting glaciers." (Favianna Rodriguez, from her essay "Harnessing Cultural Power," in ALL WE CAN SAVE.)

My challenge to myself is to center our fabulous, ferocious human stories in the poems I write in response to ALL WE CAN SAVE--not my standard approach to writing, which usually centers...well, me.

"To care about a changing climate we don't have to be a tree hugger or an environmentalist (though it certainly helps); as long as we are humans alive today, then who we already are, and what we already care about, gives us all the reasons we need."

Katharine Hayhoe, "How to Talk About Climate Change,"


  1. Phew!What a comparison!!! I love the choice you made to put the engineers first, then the beavers! I want to read this article!

  2. Go, Beavers! Show us how it's done!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!