“What She Won’t Tell You”

Posted: 11/08/2012 in Church, Philosophy, Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This is a poem I started working on the other day as a result from a discussion that arose in my Agrarian theology class.  In this class, we talked about the role of grief when it comes to prophetic speech. It is grief that allows those on the margins to rise up and speak prophetically.  However, if it is the land that is being marginalized, abused, and manipulated, who will rise up and speak prophetically against it?

In this poem, I hope to explain that the ways in which we are currently cultivating our land (through the use of invasive farming techniques, dangerous amounts of chemicals and pesticides, monoculture with lack of crop rotation, etc.) are simply not sustainable. As healthy topsoil in America is rapidly disappearing, we must discern ways to creatively respond and engage.  The imagery I’ve used is intentionally graphic, for, as Wendell Berry points out, we have been “prostituting” the land. Thanks for reading.

“What She Won’t Tell You”

The land won’t tell you how the rape feels
As the plows of steel
Grinding blades to steal
Her virginity
Serenity has all but been lost
Because we’re counting up the cash
But we’re not counting up the cost
Cuz we forgot she’s not eternal
Like a pen onto a journal
Scratching marks like with a knife
She’s as fragile as your life
And the soil is her skin
But scars don’t make it thicker
They’re just wearing it so thin
And her flame becomes a flicker

No, the land can’t tell you how the shame feels
She just buries it deep til the sickness reveals
That the wheels of the times
Are the worst of all crimes
Cuz the higher we’ll fall
When the higher we’ll climb
And we just can’t rewind and undo all we’ve done
Cuz the story’s been spun
And the battle’s been won
With the spray of a gun
Pesticide Suicide
With no conscience to guide
It’s not that it’s not easy
It’s just we haven’t tried

And the land can’t tell you how the pain feels
As we’re ripping her flesh, hoping one day it heals
So we just turn our backs and relax our ideals
Thinking someday, someone will have greener appeals
Until then, we can spend like the end’s not in sight
It’s my God-given right to bring famine and blight
And creation’s a playground to show off my might

The land won’t tell you how the hate feels
As you’re pimping her soul just to get a few meals
And you break up her heart just to get a good deal
Cuz the cheaper you pay, well, the cheaper she feels
Prostituting the goods being picked from her fields
Bottom line is the yields modified by genetics
Synthetically real, but it’s really pathetic
Or just apathetic
And she’s not rising up from the margins prophetic

No, she stays silent in pain
As we’re playing the game
Systemically shackled by nature’s food chain
Til she gives her last grain
To the will of our gut
Subjected to glut
As we play her the slut

But she cannot grieve
She cannot cry.
She only receives
The tears from the sky

And it’s these tears that nourish
Give life, make it flourish
Wash her clean from our sins
Cover her like a flood
Cover us with her mud
It’s the one thing that’s left
To cry out for her blood

Because we are the dirty
The guilty accused
And our days as abusers
Will one day abuse
Cuz the land will refuse

She won’t tell you it’s coming
But apocalyptic beats have been drumming
Creation is humming and strumming the tune
Of our actions impugned
And no one’s immune
While our reckoning is coming soon
No, she won’t speak up
But she’s asking, will you?

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Comments
  1. Donna Poe says:

    Wow..amazing JE. Very convicting. Makes me think about how much more we should do in taking care of God’s creation (and the Garden of Concord!)

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