Patti Smith Gave Greta Thunberg The Most Beautiful – & Personal – 18th Birthday Gift

The singer-songwriter also shared a dedication to Thunberg on Instagram.

by Sophie McEvoy
Getty / Simona Chioccia/IPA/Shutterstock

In celebration of the climate activist's 18th birthday, singer-songwriter Patti Smith dedicated a poem to Greta Thunberg. Titled "The Cup", Smith was inspired by Thunberg's unwavering call for action in regard to climate change. This is the second time the musician has marked the activist's birthday with poetry, as last year she also shared some impactful words highlighting the teen's #FridaysForFuture protests.

As Smith said in a video shared by style magazine Dazed, Thunberg's "message for us all, a message we must embrace, is one of action, of a schoolgirl who stepped out on her own, and appealed to us all to save our earth together." The musician begins the poem with a warning that if we turn a blind eye to mother nature, "the garden of the soul," she can turn on us in an instant.

"In place of songbird, the shrill cry of the locusts devouring the harvests," she says. "The terrible crackling of the blazing rainforest. Peatlands smouldering, seas rising, cathedrals flooding, the Arctic shelf melting, the Siberian woods burning, the Barrier Reef bleached as the bones of forgotten saints.

"If we be blind," Smith concludes, "failing in our supplication to nature, species will die, the bee and the butterfly driven to extinction — all of nature nothing more than an empty husk, the unholy ghost."

Along with the poem, the singer-songwriter also shared a picture of Thunberg on Instagram, citing the activist's strive for change and the work she's already done at such a young age. "This is Greta, who gave her childhood to nature, for a green earth, for its preservation," Smith captions the post with another short poem. "Standing alone, before the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign igniting a movement of our young.

"Happy 18th birthday to Greta Thunberg, the name of Action."