Population Poetry 1




Image courtesy of Karina McLeod and the Caselberg Trust

Population Poetry

            For years I have known that what I write is too intellectual, too wordy, too preachy. I have sought poetry on aspects of human population, and finally found a few poems worth sharing. Please read slowly and meditate. With thanks to Karen Shragg and Roger Martin, who both gave permission for me to use their work. More poetry next month!


Eve and the Fall
by Roger Martin
In ancient Africa, the Lord of Earth,
The Gaia, keeper of the sacred flame
Of life upon this favoured speck of dust,
Spoke to the ape-girl, Lucy, in a dream.
“You have done well. That brain is growing fast.
Time to become a human. Listen hard,
And tell the others, and the ones to come.
Throughout this Eden I have given you
You shall be matriarch of beasts undreamt.
They’ll live a life of eagles, always fed,
And see all things, and roam the earth and sky,
And read the seas and stars, and want for nought,
Provided that they follow this command.
Already you can feed of plants and flesh,
And only two fruits grow beyond your reach.
Both now I give you. But remember this:
You must eat both together, or else none.
The tree of Knowledge has the sweetest fruit;
The fruit of Wisdom’s bitter, green and hard.
But if you gorge upon the first alone,
Without the second fruit to balance it,
Your offspring shall be locusts in the spring.
They’ll breed, and swarm, and feed, till, numberless,
They’ve stripped the land of everything that grows,
And, Earth once made a desert, die in heaps.
That brain will free you from my disciplines
Of claw and dearth and sickness for a time.
Control your numbers only, now you can,
And Earth shall always be your Paradise.”
And Lucy, awe-struck, grunted in her sleep;
And half-awoke, and jabbered to her mate,
And told him all that lingered from the dream.
“We’ll eat the fruit of Knowledge, and we’ll live
Like eagles, and like locusts numberless.

The Earth is ours.”

Working Upstream
by Karen I. Shragg
Tick Tick Tick
Every second, the sound
Of new passengers
Added to the spaceship
Long past being able to sustain them
Work at the problem’s source
Where the stream begins at just a trickle
Tick Tick Tick
It takes courage to work upstream
And stay there
When the world is pushing us
Further down
To focus on cures
Instead of causes
At results
Instead of actions
Tick Tick Tick
It takes wisdom to know
That all will be futile
If we don’t work at the source
That’s where the possibility of success lives
And where social justice resides
Tick Tick Tick
Don’t let them tell you
You don’t have a heart because
You work upstream
Like the Wizard had to show the Tinman
Those who work upstream
have always had the biggest heart of all.

©Richard Grossman, MD 2015

PS: Karen Shragg is also the author of a new book: “Move Upstream–A Call to Solve Overpopulation”




By Richard

I am a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who has been fortunate to live and work in the wonderful community of Durango, Colorado for 40 years.

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