Selections from the author of Industrial Oz: Ecopoems

Poems on climate change

Scott T. Starbuck
  • Scott T. Starbuck

Near Paisley, Oregon

  • the ancient lake’s giant
  • redband  trout
  • fin small creeks.
  • Among swirling
  • ice sculptures
  • in thawing Chewaucan River,
  • I daydreamed their lateral lines
  • as one long red sunset
  • after a bad storm,
  • Buddhist monks
  • pushing children
  • on swings.

Punchbowl Hike Meditation

  • For 30 years
  • I’ve talked to myself
  • about climate change
  • but now everyone is.
  • When you think that long
  • you feel for individuals —
  • Nina in flower garden,
  • sparrow on fence.


  • 66 million years ago in the Cenozoic era
  • seawater filled these valleys
  • with bass hovering like piñatas unaware
  • of wagon trains, cattle ranches, asphalt roads,
  • signs to Fort Rock and Christmas Valley
  • just around the pluvial corner.
  • Instead, bass knew only the language
  • of hunger, sex, territory, blankly staring
  • like men today watching TV.

Scott T. Starbuck, co-creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College, has a new book of climate-change poems, Industrial Oz: Ecopoems. Starbuck read poems from it to over 500 climate activists at a December 12 Rally for Climate Justice in Balboa Park. 

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