Patti Smith wrote a poem for Greta Thunberg to celebrate her 17th birthday today. The poem, which Smith posted to her personal Instagram, applauds the environmental activist’s work rallying for climate change action as well as her selfless nature in general. Read the poem below.
Smith’s poem, which doesn’t yet have a title, is a three-sentence piece formatted into 12 short line breaks. It references Thunberg’s climate strike and her persistence in advocating for it, specifically from its inception in August 2018 on through to today, her birthday, where Thunberg stood outside the Swedish parliamentary building with her usual strike sign: “Skolstrejk för klimatet [school strike for the climate]”.
“This is/ Greta Thunberg, turning/ seventeen today, asking/ for no accolade, no gifts/ save we not be neutral,” writes Smith. “The Earth knows its kind/ just as all deities, just as/ animals and the healing/ spring. Happy birthday/ to Greta, who stood today/ as every Friday, refusing/ to be neutral.” Find the poem in its entirety below.
Smith is the latest to comment on Thunberg’s environmental efforts. Last year, The 1975 used Thunberg’s speech at the World Economic Forum in their opening track on Notes on a Conditional Form. Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale called the activist a “modern day Joan of Arc”. Meanwhile, Meat Loaf thinks Thunberg is “brainwashed” because she isn’t a climate change denier like he is.
Patti Smith will hit the road in 2020 for a string of tour dates. Along the way, she will be performing at The National’s Homecoming Festival as well as avant-garde event Big Ears Festival. Grab tickets to all of her upcoming concerts here.