Home » Poetry » Poem – Civil?

Poem – Civil?

Why do we say it is
when we
tear down trees,
dig up rocks,
flatten hills,
evict the animals,
and build
a new subdivision
or a mall
or a freeway?

How is it “civilized”
or even human
in the sense of smart
in the sense of forward thinking
to destroy what is there,
to not live with the land
to remove shade
to remove our source of oxygen
to remove birdsong

to render the colors
into the grey
of asphalt
and the pastels
of house paint?

Why do we have to go away
from our homes
our “civilization”
to feel more at home
in our bodies?

We go to the mountains
to the seaside
to the country
to find ourselves.

We are lost
in the
we created
for ourselves.

Wouldn’t it make
more sense
to live with the land
to live with the
trees and wildflowers and birds and deer and opossum
and not tear it down
to grow our own trees and
plant our own flowers
and bring our own pets?

We say we like nature,
but only if it is on our own terms.
We like it if we can control it
and name it.

We shortchange our souls
to be civilized.

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