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The Five Stages

bright yellow sunlflower growing out of dirt

A geology student’s plea for helping the planet

by Victoire Soumano (’23)

I wrote the poem that follows for the Climate Teach-In that took place in March of this year to express how some Westminster students and I feel about the current climate-change crisis. I hope you find inspiration to take action 
through these lines.

Stage 1

Our hearts drop to the pit of our stomachs as the sand flows down in an hourglass 

There is no way to pick it back up  

To make it beat with excitement once again

Everything surrounding us seems bleak

The leaves a dull green 

The grass turning brown

The sky grey

The soil dry and cracked 

The beauty around us seems to fade like red Saharan dust in the Harmattan wind 

The planet we call home is withering to nothing 

What even is the point anymore?

Stage 2

Why is everyone so quiet? 

I feel my voice hide inside my throat like a coward

I look around and everyone else is struggling like me 

We scream without a sound 

Silence is supposed to be louder than words but even she is quiet 

We scream again 

Still silence 

Our blood boils and our breaths shudder as we hear another tree fall, another town flooded, another glacier melt, another forest burn

Stage 3 

The sand continues to flow down the hourglass and our hearts sink with it 

We stop screaming 

Letting our bodies melt into puddles on the ground 

Melt like the glaciers and collect like flood waters 

Well, it is what it is

Stage 4

It starts like a drop of water or perhaps a gentle breeze

It evolves to a stream snaking itself around our feet or a gust of wind wrapping itself around our shapeless soft bodies 

Soon enough we are carried by these mighty waves shaped by the mighty wind with the strength of a hurricane 

Our bodies are remolded, new strength coursing through our veins 

Our eyes flutter open to a crowd 

A crowd of people like us 

Ready to work 

Work to rebuild our home 

One farm at a time 

One solar panel at a time

One action at a time 

How are we going to use this newfound strength?

Stage 5 

Our hearts beat again to the rhythm of hope 

The cracks in the soil start to be filled with wildflowers and possibilities 

The sky starts to clear, grey fading to reveal a beautiful light blue 

Streams and rivers snake their way back to dry beds 

Change has begun  

Visit for more informationabout the worldwide Climate Teach-In event. 



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.