Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coal Trains Please Stay Away

Photo Credit: Paul K. Anderson, Chuckanut Conservancy

One hundred twenty-five
By my count pass.
Seventeen thousand tons
Of trouble and tremble.
Flanged wheels squeal
In protested mass
A dozen kilotons 
Of trundling coal
Shake our very core
And offend our soul.

More like a bomb than a boon
Each clack on track
A passage of time
Each revolution bringing
The fine dust of slow death
Clack, clack, and clack
Diesel streams in clouds
Of ecological ruin
Dressing us in cancer’s cowl.

Photo Credit: Paul K. Anderson, Chuckanut Conservancy
This cargo is carried
And in transit steals
Our dreams and pride.
Never sadder
The train blasts sound and sound.
Happiness and health
All carried away.

Greedy voices say
What we want to hear.
But how outside of addict’s logic
Are their profits worth
Our damaged young
And cast off old? 
So one in six
In pregnant state
Languish with a winged-footed
God of risk.

How comes that awful truth
with Mr. Peabody’s fat thumb
square on the scale?
Money weighs a logic
Out of balance with reality
With benefits for a few
And impacts spread cross
Time and territory.

The talk of taxes and jobs
Rings hollow per tradition
And practice. 
Nothing good for us comes
From this tired path
Except the pain we draw
Through simple error
And misplaced trust. 

So gather and make
A righteous stand
With neighbors and kindred souls
For this is far more about morals
Than money
And a bright future starts
With the first brave stance.
Let it be here and now.

--Bob Ferris 
Executive Director