This blog is in celebration of Earth Day, April 22, and has been reprinted from the Mennonite Creation Care Network website with permission.
Wendell Wiebe-Powell and his wife, Laura, raised three sons in Elkhart, Indiana, where they are members of Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church. His involvements have included community development and sustainability projects; church leadership, peace, justice and environmental advocacy; caregiving for and learning from persons with developmental disabilities. He is also a gardener, writer, runner, and encourager of political and social engagement rooted in Earth and Spirit. For example, he has helped youth in Elkhart area high schools to understand the realities of war and military service and to seek alternative careers and education — information they do not hear from recruiters from all branches of the military active in their halls.
Somewhere between the two … listening and truth telling … sighting the moon through the aperture of a strange tree in the woods … this poem began to stir.
round up the savages
dig that ditch
put in the tile
drain that swamp
plant your rows straight and long
some said it sounded like a giant zipper
when the moldboard plow
thousand year roots
dozen feet deep
opened for business
clear out that thicket
spray those weeds
tidy it up
neighbors look over the fence don’t you know
trap the vermin
rake those leaves
never mind insects are in free-fall
and all that depend on them
larvae nestled in leaf-cover
put your feet up and watch the screen
while the sprinkler waters dead-zone green
there go those crows again
of melodic of mower
and leaf blower
and TV screen
of leaves and weeds and wild seeds
those irresponsible unwed mothers
and refugees crossing borders
or worse yet, refugees who are unwed mothers!
banish them to the stable
that’s how we roll
Rahab’s hoisting her riffraff
over the wall
mount your munitions
slam shut the border
law and order!
hunt down that babe
in Rahab’s line
still the crows jeer
what we don’t want to hear
in beleaguered family
of untamed forest
groaning to be set free
In Northern Indiana, 85% of wetlands have been drained to create farmland with the help of piping known as tile.
This post is part of Mennonite Church USA’s Climate Justice: Learn, Pray, Join initiative.
We invite you to:
Pray for those who are most vulnerable among us and who are most impacted by climate change, including those who have already been displaced.
Pray for the waters, the plants, all living creatures and the earth with gratitude, that we may recognize their sacredness and participate in their restoration.
Pray that we will find the motivation to respond to climate change in our own lives, congregations and communities.
Pray for local, community and business leaders to help make communities healthier and greener while centering those who are vulnerable. Pray that our political leaders and world leaders would become more active in reducing carbon emissions worldwide.
Pray for the youth and future generations, who will live with the growing consequences of climate change.
Find worship resources, a recorded webinar, and ways to get involved in advocating for climate justice at mennoniteusa.org/climatejustice.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.