For a century we have watched your institutional embrace
Giving glaciers, forests, lakes and mountains their distinctly human face;
And while we, the galaxies, comets, planets, meteors, and such
Would defy any imprints of this interventionist human touch,
We honor your wisdom, foresight, and your acuminate earthly skill
In curtailing and preventing the effects of rampant human will
To build and to bulldoze seemingly fallow, void terrain
In the name of economic development for sheer financial gain.
The parks of America speak wordlessly of sustenance and beauty,
Of firmaments' astounding grandeur and of patriotic duty.
From the pathways of the Natchez and the trails of the Cherokee
To the mangroves of Saipan's Pacific wartime memory,
From Hawaii's lava rock our meteors could claim as theirs,
To Sequoia's, Kings Canyon's and Yosemite's great black bears,
From Acadia and Cape Cod where the eye for sunrise waits,
From Chesapeake and Cumberland to Alaska's Arctic gates,
From Arizona's Tuzigoot to Florida's Dry Tortugas,
The declaration of America's parks has brought reassurance to us.
For we have monitored your earthly life from our extraterrestrial sphere
(Defined as such by earthlings, since only to you are we a frontier).
We understand your crowding, your resource limits, your need,
And who knows how many that food grown on another planet could feed?
But we have observed that wilderness takes root in the human spirit
Only when its endangered status draws people to come near it.
Thus wilderness, like extraterrestrial, is a motif of the human mind,
Born of the imagination that wants to protect it, to be kind.
Thus the wild is so defined by that which has been captured,
And inherent value named by the heart that is enraptured.
Indeed, at times quite heedless of human lives already in place,
Other humans declare a park a tribute to nature's grace.
But a preserve of flora and fauna for some is to others their root subsistence,
In a world where humans and non-humans dwell in balanced co-existence.
"Indigenous" they may call it, once more defined by its antithesis,
Thus creating yet again a wild proprietary synthesis.
To leave it wild you must encircle it, and declare it as your own,
Then gaze into the galaxy that in the future may be your home,
While we, the solar system, smile brightly in our deep, deep dark,
To fathom that our infinity could ever be declared a park.