"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Papa Oil

I believe Woody Guthrie would have had a lot to say about global warming if he was alive today and the conditions of our environment. He wrote This Land Is Your Land in response to Irving Berlin's God Bless America which he felt was unrealistic and complacent. Thanks Woody for inspiring so many who came after you to raise their voices and use their art to speak out about issues where there is need for change.

Photograph: Sebastio Salgado

Was it not enough greed turned grass into a dustbowl?

Big men with diamond lies
now rape the countryside
because money means more than life.

Blue collars hammered by white
are too hungry to fight
the death plunge into black gold.

Papa oil doesn’t care about soil
or whether the sky turns
from bright blue to ash gray.

The innocent are now stuck
breathing the polluted muck
from lungs never exposed to clean air.

©Susie Clevenger 2013


Bill Nicholls said...

So true greed fuels it

Susan said...

You got the Guthrie thing going here. He'd be horrified and then cynical about how government and business care for those that ultimately pay them.

Björn said...

The greed of industry and capital is fed all the way down to us the consumers being bribed by the breadcrumbs falling of the rich man's table... thank your for the challenge.. Sunday works well for me :-)

howanxious said...

A perfect title for a thoughtfully written piece. :-)

Susan said...

I forgot to thank you for this prompt which got under my skin.

Helen said...

Perfection Susie .. perfection.

Siggi in Downeast Maine said...

Love your post.
How true it is...and it is so apt for the prompt you gave.

Greed seems to be here in Maine also...turning the forests into condo developments.


Mama Zen said...


Sam Edge said...

this has the perfect tone for a protest song - loved it

grapeling said...

great title, and the pen upholds it ~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You knocked this one out of the park, Susie!

Ella said...

Wow Susie! This is so Guthrie-
I wish we had more green collars to fight for our land/our world.
Your poem is so true and I agree it should be a song! Bravo Susie~

What a great challenge!

Kay L. Davies said...

Wonderfully done, Susie. You sure did channel Woody.
It's a sad old world we live in. Fracking and pipelines and oil tankers could make the Dust Bowl look like a mountain meadow in spring.
Thanks for introducing one of my oldtime favorites to the garden.

Sumana Roy said...

'money means more than life.'.....
the line says all...and a great title..

Kerry O'Connor said...

I think Guthrie's song raises an awareness that so many tend to forget - This land is your land, this land is my land: it belongs to all, not the select few who seek to dominate and pillage all the resources to the detriment of the environment and the impoverishment of people. Your poem filled me with an impotent rage at the irresponsible way big business has grabbed the land and left nothing behind except destruction.

Lolamouse said...

You channeled Woodie Guthrie perfectly with your protest poem! Everyone's talking about fracking being the next "big thing" now. Very scary.

lorik said...

Such a great song ... important words.

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