On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland, Ohio, caught on fire, leading to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of major environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act in 1972.

From Ear Witness, Serpent Song:

The gentle serpent's heartbeat sprang from the roll of a soft terrain.
Ohio's hills and marching dells trilled a scale up the glacial plain.
Wind swelled pumping bellows thundered oompahs through the rain,
pushing pistils and stamens to heaven, bringing life to the fruit and grain.
From harvest through frostfall comes quiet, till the floodwaters rise in a riot,
like some unseen thing had reset the spring to play it all over again.

But the operas drunk on the apple seed trail took an adman's oiled refrain
tracks of gold were sung and sold from a gandy dancer's train.
Keening drills and whistle shrills put a voice to the valley's pain;
of crucibles gurgling and grumbling, suckwash runoff rumbling,
through a sluice by the mill where the juiced poets still hear the serpent
...but the source and the meaning are impossible to explain.

Far more frightening today the serpent
and the omen he obtains;
for he lays as a warning and symbol
holding the previous poet's remains.