I am pleased and proud to have some of my poetry as a part of this moving and powerful documentary from the American Angus Association.
Farmers and ranchers across the country are dealing with increasing urbanization of rural America. With that urbanization brings challenges and opportunities. Hear from five Angus farm and ranch families, including: Lovin family, Lexington, Georgia; Marsh family, Huntley, Illinois, Stabler family, Brookeville, Maryland; and the Cropp family, Damascus, Maryland, about how urban sprawl has impacted them and American Farmland Trust CEO John Piotti about the issue as a whole. The American Angus Association® is proud to present the first film to expose the impact of urban sprawl on American Agriculture – “Losing Ground”—an I Am Angus production.
Rivers of cars and trucks compressed
between houses stacked like cordwood,
between parking lots and mini-malls
ready to serve anonymous strangers
usurp more earth, sterilize and seal it
from the sun and rain—level the landmarks
for living histories of neighbors and families
lending a hand, sharing labor, teaching
one another how to give and live together
without the siren’s wail I hear
in the shrinking distance—from the lights
at night that blot out constellations.
My anger has become a sad acceptance
of human ambition, the relentless waves
of wealth and debt that may go hungry with
no landscapes left to feed their souls or flesh.
On a cool day in hell
they’re sipping lemonade,
holding court, declaring
God to blame for their sins—
for imperfections of soul,
its hollow room filled
with mirrors of themselves
they took too seriously.
The angels rest uneasily
beside Max Parrish pools
looking down on the ground,
even the old cowmen on the ridge
look away from the wreck,
the collision of words, the cloud
of dust that obfuscates the truth
only time will settle.
How long can we be entertained
by delusion, the dissolution
of civility, of compassion
as the planet prepares
for the business of war—
already overstocked with corrals
of houses stacked upon
the fading fruited plains?