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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Poem by Rob Lewis


I found this on the Coal Free Bellingham website and wanted to share, as I think it captures the extraordinary qualities of this region well:

A Berry Land Preamble

by Rob Lewis

Whereas. . . dairy farms and the Little Cheerful, sweet juice
in the berries simmering in the sun; the white crown
of Baker, the heron speckled flats of Lummi
the wild crescent shore called Cherry Point.
Here a nation local, planted in the routines of people graced
by a place—and devoted to that place; pledged to
land and each other; blessed by bay winds and
snow geese; growing milk and blueberries
and improvisational comedy; hosting epic games
linking mountains to sea. And having
a constitution; whereas We The People.
Recognizing. . . there is an abiding arithmetic, an accounting of the soul,
daily tabulating the essentials: good air, thriving children
sound atmoshphere, neighborly transaction. The human and natural,
people and land all bound up together in complex equation
amounting at last to a rare and exceptional sum:
the good town Bellingham, the good place Whatcom.
But knowing. . . the seas that cradle our work are rising
and the snowy peaks which encouraged our forebears
are graying to dim the vision of our children.
For there is another arithmetic, chartered to profit
and chained to greed, which comes here
with coal trains and morbid math:
“sell us your soul’s negation
for increased tax revenue and 218 permanent jobs.
You are recalculated now; your worth is to be a corridor
for coal. Put aside your verdant vision.
Our coal trains must pass.
And decades hence, when we’ve hauled our last load
then you can have your vision back, then we will go.’
We reply. . . by lacing boots and printing signs, gathering voice
and excavating rights:
Here a nation local, planted in place,
Bound up in land and sea and the work of people
Linking thriving children and the white crown of Baker
Pledged to epic games and constitution; We The People
Of this verdant place, this rare and exceptional sum
say No Coal!

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