You Shall Reap What You Sow, a poem by Anna Trowbridge

You Shall Reap What You Sow
by Anna Trowbridge

Why did you do it?
What good did you think could ever come from all this?
It’s like killing your own mother- the one who shaped you out of the bounty of her body
It’s like the Giving Tree- the one who poured all her love and hope and life into you, down to the last drop, only to receive cold-blooded destruction in return.
How can you still deny the brutal reality we have brought upon ourselves?
When you learn that 200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal go extinct every 24 hours,
When you see the smoke, the scab-like smog and the greyness where once was green,
How can you still say, I am in the right?
How can you still say, it’s all a hoax?
Look around you.
We are destroying our planet.
And so far, it’s the only one we’ve got.
So when you see fish, lying belly-up in the oil-scummed water,
When you see the pipes stretching like greedy fingers into the once-blue sky,
Spewing thick blackness into the atmosphere,
When you hear stories of how it was in the old days,
When you could safely drink right out of a stream, when the ocean’s bounty was not disintegrating because of us, when earth’s life had balance to it.
How can you still say that this is all make-believe?
We were given a vast, diverse, astonishing jewel to make our home upon.
But we forgot how alone we are.
We forgot to ask- if the time comes, who will save us from ourselves?
Instead, we wasted with disregard, scouring Earth’s bounty dry.
We, the human race, are afflicted with a deadly case of hubris.
And every time we deny, deny, deny, we take a step closer to our grave.
Every time we praise the “beautiful, clean coal,”
We slide closer to the edge of a chasm from which we will never return.
And every time we poison the waters, flatten the mountains,
Tear our forests limb by limb, and fill the sky with smoke,
We take away from our children, our children’s children, and all future generations,
Who will say,
Why did you do it?
What good did you think could possibly come from all this?