The pagan sun at zenith stands,
Above the scorched and ravaged land,
Where wildfires blaze and cattle thirst,
And all below seems dry and cursed.
The cities suck the country dry,
And leave the grass and crops to die.
But here and there a hidden spring
Provides a means for life to cling,
Amid the rocks and dry stream beds,
Where agile deer and pronghorn tread,
And trickles sometimes meld to streams –
To start again that ancient scheme.
Poem by Francis Flavin
Francis Flavin is a poet, writer and author. In his writing he draws upon his experience as an educator, hockey player, fish and game field worker, public interest lawyer, investigator, and adventurer on four continents. He was the first Alaska State Ombudsman, founding member of the International Ombudsman Steering Committee, and former Director of the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct. He is Faculty Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno. His work has been published in Poetry Quarterly, Poets Choice, Blueline, Pacific Review, Blue Collar Review, La Piccioletta Barca, Three Line Poetry, The Closed Eye Open, WestWard Quarterly, and on the websites of the Society of Classical Poets and the Adirondack Center for Writing. He has received recognition for humor (2017 and 2/2018) and flash fiction (2018) in the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition, the social impact category of the 2019 Chicagoland Poetry Contest and the personal essay and rhymed poetry categories of the 2020 Writer’s Digest awards.