On the Fifth Day

On the Fifth Day

the scientists who studied the rivers

were forbidden to speak

or to study the rivers.

The scientists who studied the air

were told not to speak of the air,

and the ones who worked for the farmers

were silenced,

and the ones who worked for the bees.

Someone, from deep in the Badlands,

began posting facts.

The facts were told not to speak

and were taken away.

The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

Now it was only the rivers

that spoke of the rivers,

and only the wind that spoke of its bees,

while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees

continued to move toward their fruit.

The silence spoke loudly of silence,

and the rivers kept speaking,

of rivers, of boulders and air.

Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,

the untested rivers kept speaking.

Bus drivers, shelf stockers,

code writers, machinists, accountants,

lab techs, cellists kept speaking.

They spoke, the fifth day,

of silence.

by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield who is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets read this poem from the stage at the March for Science on April 22 2017

That was a day of massive protests worldwide. And even in Poughkeepsie thousands gathered to march down Main Street to Waryas Park.

Georg Baselitz Silence from In the Forest and on the Heath 2005–06

Tinus Boshoff Irresponsible Behaviour or Destroy Society from Break the Silence! 2000

Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes
c. 1915

A few photos from the Poughkeepsie March for Science below. Many more at Hudson Valley Strong


  1. This is genius,

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