Greta Thunberg Meets the Emerald Queen

Part II of “The Emerald Queen: A Legend from the Future”

One day through the forest leaves wafted her song,
Attracting a young girl who wandered along,
Who loved to go walking in nature and so
She followed the voice and had no qualms to go
For a hike in the woods over rocks and a stream
Until she was standing in front of the Queen,
Where she screeched, “Fellow woman, come join with my cause:
We have to ensure that there are more new laws
Protecting the world and all of your land
From the climate change spell that was cast from the hand
Of a sorcerer known as Lord Coaloilgas.
His hex heats the air; it endangers us fast.”

The Emerald Queen raised an eyebrow and sang
“The land’s in decline, in the balance we hang,
But no man of the earth has a power so great;
There’s a larger force here, grown more powerful of late:
It’s hard to detect but it’s now everywhere
In ignorant arrogance commoner than air.
That bottle of water you carry looks fine
But micro-sized plastics show no outward sign
And micro-sized meds aren’t just there in your flask
They’re now in your body though you did not ask
For them. Sea levels rising for thousands of years
Aren’t something you change by controlling your peers.
The nuclear waste rips all matter apart—
A cancer to nature just like abstract art.
Your mining rare metals to store solar power
Will hasten the time of the land’s final hour.”

The girl stumbled backward and saw now that she
Was surrounded by dark mist and couldn’t break free;
Her hatred for others and jealous disdain
Had trapped her inside human race-hating pain.
The Emerald Queen, aura bright as the sun,
Her hair in the wind with the branches were one,
Her bones were the rocks, her flesh was the soil,
The clouds with their thunderbolts kneeled to her loyal—
Her right hand went up and the ground split in two
So out of the darkness the girl backward flew.

She looked all around and she thought it a dream,
Coincidence, flukes, realizations that seem
To be real, then they’re gone; so she wandered away
All scowling and saying that she’d gone astray
And never should listen to ladies who sing
Of truths that she thought “…cannot mean anything!”



Evan Mantyk teaches literature and history in New York and is Editor of the Society of Classical Poets. His most recent books of poetry are Heroes of the East and West, and a translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. 

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13 Responses

  1. Cynthia Erlandson

    “Lord Coaloilgas” — I love it! There are so many good lines: “No man of the earth has a power so great.” ; “Sea levels… Aren’t something you change by controlling your peers.”; “A cancer to nature just like abstract art”. And the image of the Emerald Queen’s hair, bones, and flesh as branches, rocks, and soil in the penultimate verse is beautifully and succinctly drawn.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Evan, this is a worthy continuation of Part I, which is one of my favorite poems this year. You’ve written the satire on Greta in a style suited to your original, and carried forward the Emerald Queen’s loveliness in such a way that I love her still more. And her wisdom! Seeing the transcendence within nature shows how abstract art is a cancer to it. That goes beyond debunking false environmental issues while being serious about true ones. But this kind of vision is precisely where ignorant arrogance is blind. Your final lines describe that darkness in the unbeliever who fails to really look at the nature she claims to love because her ambition is in fact to control her peers. Sad but real.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    It’s an epiphany we all might wish for, but poor Greta cannot do anything but keep wandering around in her self-generated darkness. How fitting! She deserves herself, but we deserve better. I’ve always thought that those who think they’ve found the truth stop looking for it, and that there is probably no cure. What a silly twit!

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Environmentalism isn’t about concern or love for nature. It’s all about hatred of mankind, and a desire to debase the conditions human existence to a level that will impose punishment and retribution on those whom the environmentalists loathe and despise. Philosophically, environmentalism is just a dime-store gnosticism that sees the world in the grasp of an evil Demiurge (Lord Coaloilgas), and which must be rescued by a knowledgeable elite who will impose proper regulation on the unwashed masses.

    Evan, I love the green-tinted illustration. Nature is green with fecundity and growth; the Little Swedish Meatball is green with hate and envy.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      This is absolutely true. I realized this when someone pointed out that there’s no reason for environmentalists to give a damn about their descendants when they’re perfectly happy to kill their unborn children.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Perfectly correct, Josh. Environmentalism is just displaced anger directed at certain hated groups. If you are comfortable or affluent, if you enjoy your home and your traditional foods, if you are blessed with heating in winter and air conditioning in summer, if you like driving your car, if you enjoy wearing leather and fur, if you don’t give a swiving hump about your “carbon footprint,” and if you are delighted in your children… well there’s an entire army of resentful scum out there who hate your guts, and who want to make your life wretched. Your contented placidity and happiness drive them insane.

        Just look at Thunberg’s face, and see the sheer venom dripping from it, as if from a rattler’s fangs.

        The same thing is true for those Gen Z morons with their vicious anti-Israeli protests. They don’t give a rat’s ass for Gaza, and they couldn’t locate it on a map. But the war has provided them with an opportunity to spout hatred against abstractions that their stupid professors have told them are evil: racism, genocide, imperialism, settler-colonialism, Western hegemony, etc. etc.

        People want to go off on moral binges, screaming out their Categorical Imperatives. That’s a basic description of the world today.

  5. Roy Eugene Peterson

    This is another one of your great poems, this one with a powerful message of truth that will continue to plague the likes of Greta. As it was with the Wizard of Oz, the leftists not only cannot see behind the curtain, they are the ones maintaining the curtain and attempting to pull the wool over everyone else’s eyes. Mixed metaphors, but my points are clear and in consonance with the message. You drive home perfect points of my own beliefs and truth I have kept since the 1960’s and the illogical Al Gore on the subject of climate. As you said, there are more powerful natural forces at work here than mankind (I guess I should add womankind, since these days lumping them all together in one masculine word is frowned upon.). “Lord Coaloilgas” is brilliant with whom I would guess he is married to Lady Carbon!

  6. Brian A. Yapko

    Evan, you’ve done a great job putting that tantrum-throwing shallow little eco-twit in her place. And you did it by means of a delightful fantasy story told in wonderful poetry!

  7. Norma Pain

    I really enjoyed your poem Evan and the common-sense message it contains. Thank you.

  8. Warren Bonham

    Thankfully Greta is now 20 years old so I think we’re officially able to satirize her (although she may be eligible for some other exemption that I’m not aware of). You’ve done a great job here! Greta also seems to be an ardent supporter of Hamas and likely many other misguided causes. Now that she has transitioned from being a one-of-a-kind screechy prepubescent into one of many thousands of screechy entitled adults, I’m hoping that her influence will quickly wane.

  9. Daniel Kemper

    I think Greta fancies herself “The Green Knight,” I found myself thinking, spinning off of the Emerald Queen. She’s in a bad spot; I wonder about the pressures — carrot and stick — that she must have been put in or born into. A frustrating personage. I just often wonder about backstories.


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