We stand in the intersection
Blocking traffic
With a banner that stretches
From corner to corner:
The traffic we have stopped
Piles up down the block
And horns begin honking,
A few at first,
Then more and more as the minutes tick away
Until a tremendous, cacophonous clamor
Rises into the morning air
Between the vertiginous canyon walls
Of the Financial District
Where the despoilers of Earth and weather
Acquire the necessary cash
That feeds their depradations.
To me, the claxon chorus
Is ear-splittingly beautiful,
The stopped cars have become shining seraphim
Raising their voices as one to say ENOUGH!
Raising their voices
With children the world over
Who are demanding that we awake
From the nightmare of eternal economic growth,
Demanding that we awake
To our responsibility to coming generations,
Demanding that we awake to shared resources
And interdependence
And the beauty of the common good.

Our few minutes here now over
We leave this intersection
And head down the block to another.
Horns stop blaring
And office-bound motorists
Continue on their way.
Were they convinced by our moment of direct action?
Will they read the flyers we handed them
As they were sitting in their cars?
Will they join with the children
Acting to rescue the future,
Acting to save our habitable world?

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s newest book is And What Will We Sing? a collection of protest and social justice poems spanning the last 25 years. He podcasts at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.