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Patti Smith Pens Poem for Greta Thunberg’s 17th Birthday

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is too busy trying to save the planet to ask for anything else for her 17th birthday Friday (Jan. 3). But Patti Smith delivered the gift of her powerful words through a mindful poem that touched on the young activist’s revolutionary work.

Smith posted Thunberg’s photo on her Instagram and included a poem in the caption: “This is/ Greta Thunberg, turning/ seventeen today, asking/ for no accolade, no gifts,/ save we not be neutral./ 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.”

The last three lines of her birthday poem refer to Thunberg’s weekly routine of heading to the front of the Swedish parliament building on Fridays with her “Skolstrejk för klimatet” sign (which translates to School strike for the climate) to demand action toward the global climate change crisis. The renowned #FridaysForFuture protest began in August 2018, when the budding changemaker refused to go to school and instead sat outside of the Swedish parliament office with her infamous insignia.

See Smith’s poignant birthday post for Thunberg below.

A version of this article originally appeared on Billboard.

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