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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 10:01 pm

People's poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

Untitled Document earthdaypoem #1      
 we’re messing up the food chain, la-de-dah
we’re messing up the food chain,
la-de-dah
of course we never stop to think
that if the food chain pops a link
we’ll all of us be in the drink
oh la-de-dah-de-dah

we’re messing up the food chain, la-de-dah
we’re messing up the food chain,
la-de-dah
the fish we pull from out the sea
can’t reproduce and soon can’t we
it’s estrogen excessity
oh la-de-dah-de-dah

we’re messing up the food chain, la-de-dah
we’re messing up the food chain,
la-de-dah
no little dutch boy with his thumb
can plug the leak of what’s to come
it will take more than chewing gum
oh la-de-dah-de-dah

we’re messing up the food chain, la-de-dah
we’re messing up the food chain,
la-de-dah
we won’t have time to set up mars
to start a new chain in the stars
we’ll all be gone our cows and cars
oh la-de-dah-de-dah

we’re messing up the food chain, la-de-dah
we’re messing up the food chain,
la-de-dah
we need a world wide coalition
to make this earth its primal mission
as apt to hap as cold air fission
oh la-de-dah-de-dah-de-dah
oh la-de-dah-de-dah

© Jacqueline Jackson 2007
By describing the relocation of moles that ravaged her yard, Washington poet Judith Kitchen presents an experience that resonates beyond the simple details, and suggests that children can learn important lessons through observation of the natural world.

Catching the Moles
First we tamp down the ridges that criss-cross the yard
then wait for the ground to move again.
I hold the shoe box, you, the trowel.
When I give you the signal you dig in behind
and flip forward. Out he pops into daylight,
blind velvet.
We nudge him into the box, carry him down the hill.
Four times we’ve done it. The children worry.
Have we let them all go at the very same spot?
Will they find each other? We can’t be sure ourselves,
only just beginning to learn the fragile rules of uprooting.

Poem copyright ©  1986 by Judith Kitchen, whose most recent book is the novel, The House on Eccles Road (Graywolf Press, 2004). Reprinted from Perennials (Anhinga Press, 1986) with permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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