Zumwalt Poems Online



It’s a fair trade.
Food for fuel.

Convert all our corn.
Add the amylase enzyme gene.
Food for fuel.

It’s a fair trade.
Forests for Food.

Switch soya for corn.
Make Brazil a giant farm.
Forests for Food.

Prices are right for fuel and food.
Step up production:
More fuel, more carbon in the air;
More food, less trees, more carbon in our lungs.

Rising Global Temperatures are ripe to drive up prices.
Droughts increase water’s premium
Aquifers get depleted.
Water becomes even scarcer.
Food prices rise.

Little Johnny wants to make money.
How can he not help to do so?
Invest in food and pollute at the same time.
Easy money.
Pollute on a small scale:
Pocket change.
Pollute on a large scale:
Wealth beyond dreams.

Rising Temperatures,
Erratic Weather,
Population Growth,
Scarce Water Resources,
Civil Unrest
All put stress on
Food supplies.

Now Johnny has to work harder.
He burns the midnight oil.
And makes more money.

Cattle, Sheep and Goats
Make deserts out of grasslands.
Tractors, Freight Trucks and Commuters
Make hazardous waste the speciality in trade.

But it’s a fair trade.
Quality of Life for Quantity of Life.

It’s a reasonable trade.
More humans for less plants and animals.

We will switch the future for the present.
Make our Dreams a Giant Dustbowl.
Swap future prospects for a bite to eat.

Principles are right for the harvesting.
Let’s step up consumption:
More fuel, more carbon in our air;
More food, less trees, more carbon in the lungs.

It’s a good honest trade.
I can write away the guilt.
Put my complaints down on some message board
And feel just a little better
As everyone increasingly feels worse.

— Zumwalt (2011)


Comments on: "Trade" (14)

  1. This is what i will say a fantastic poem. i am not trying to flatter you but this poem should be read in environmental meetings.

    we human beings are such idiots.

    thanks for reading my blog and letting me know by placing a very sweet and beautiful comment.


    • Explorations In Sacred Space and S. Basu,

      Thanks very much for the comments!

      S. Basu — having known John Cage a little bit and finally understanding what the depth of his musical pholosophy, your poem, Nirvana, particularly touched me.


  2. “Make our dreams a Giant Dustbowl”, an incredible line. It’s ridiculous how us humans waste the planet we live one.


  3. Sorry about the typo: one is suppose to be on: waste the planet we live on.


  4. poetofmidnight,

    Thanks much!

    It’s a dark thought, but I think some of our sucess as a species is based upon our tendency to waste thus making it harder for competitors. Perhaps Neanderthal, with its high calorie requirements, was a victim of us killing more food than we needed. Maybe, maybe not. But at some point we have to realize that we cannot continue to inflict such high damage on this planet and its variety of other inhabitants without irreversible consequences.

    (Would be nice feature for WordPress to allow authors to edit their comments on other sites.)


  5. this is excellently written and a sad truth…


  6. I like the callous tone of it – it strikes just the right note.


  7. claudia and mareymercy,

    Thanks much!


  8. Thanks for this powerful poem. I love it.


  9. wisdom write (~_~) greed is the seed of our un-doing

    bows humble~


  10. Kathryn and zendictive,

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.


  11. Truer Words, I’ve Not Read Today…the Lord Knows
    Love Your Wonderful Way With Prose…

    By the way, if you didn’t get a Pingback message just read my latest post, where you’ll find your link at the bottom, for details.
    Bless You


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: