top of page

Poem for Greta Thunberg, by E. Martin Pedersen

When you said the house is on fire

I looked around, I'm good, what

should I do, grab my cat and run?

When you said you have stolen my youth

I thought of my own youth stolen

by drugs and TV and basketball

shooting pointless hoops in the

driveway until it got so dark.

When you said we had twelve years left

what can I do, I'm just one little

guy, trying to do what's right

where's the government we need

to lead, oh yeah, that shit-fight

I swapped out all my lightbulbs

and quit using plastic straws

and you -- that's not enough

fire -- do more -- strike -- hunger

strike -- fire -- do more -- green

new deal -- not enough -- lead

We can

turn this cable car around, I did

when I was six, they let kids

help the conductors and brakemen

chosen kids all pushing together

it wouldn't budge, then slowly

it turned counterclockwise -- all

together -- push! -- until it was

going the right direction

the opposite direction

then climb aboard

hang on and ride uphill

cable car super boy

helping the grown men

anything was possible

no problem too big -- if we all

push together, me next to Greta.


E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over 40 years in eastern Sicily, where he taught English at the local university. His poetry appeared most recently in Ginosko, Metaworker, Triggerfish, Unlikely Stories Mark V, and Grey Sparrow Review among others. Martin is an alumnus of the Community of Writers. He has published two collections of haiku, Bitter Pills,and Smart Pills, and a chapbook, Exile's Choice, just out from Kelsay Books. A full collection, Method & Madness, is forthcoming from Odyssey Press. Martin blogs at:


bottom of page