©2010 Sterling Haynes

Beach Garbage
Beach Garbage, photo from jschneid's Flickr Photostream


Where is away? where did it go?
A place where people
throw away plastic bottles and bags
slowly degrading our water and earth.

Don’t throw it away.

Is away, away from here?
A nebulous place out of sight: collections
of old plastic tooth brushes, tooth
picks collected by ocean currents.

Don’t throw it away.

Is away, a waste land
of teetering flattened cars?
A city of discarded circuit boards,
plastic cap eating dying birds, on ocean atolls?

Don’t throw it away.

Is away our ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’,
in Horse Latitudes, with no wind,
no life and no hope for chicks
of Boobies, Albatrosses and Shearwaters?

Don’t throw it away.

We must get rid of it – yes
throw it away, but away
is getting filled up, where is away?
Carried away is full up. Sorry folks!
Aw shucks, we won’t throw it “away” anymore…


If you’ve just now discovered Sterling Haynes, you’ll no doubt want to read more of his work. Read his gritty, humorous stories about life as a country doctor in Bloody Practice: Reflections on Doctoring Around the World and Wake-Up Call: Tales from a Frontier Doctor. Two more of his poems can be found on Catching Courage (Momma Does Milk) and Story Route (Narratives for Dummies).

One thought on “Away

  1. Quite an effective poem. In our haste to “live” … we forget to take care of our planet, our mortal home; so things are tossed aside too casually. But what, exactly, are we rushing to … the gifted Tolle says we are rushing to the next moment because we are convinced the next moment will be better … so we live in the future, failing to honor the present moment. Hence, we miss our very own lives, because our thoughts rush ahead … rejecting the loveliness of “what is” … forever striving to get to something better (that never really comes). Honoring the present moment is so important.

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