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Not so very long ago...

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Not so very long ago, I sat upon a mountain And enjoyed a view that went on for miles Since then I’ve had my final glance, of blue skies in endless expanse Now air pollution has robbed me of my smile The carbon monoxide makes me shiver Burns my lungs, destroys my liver Coughing hard with every step Got emphysema I surely bet I know for certain that they lied The risks to health from exhausts denied But the hole in the ozone is tough to hide and the air is brown outside.

It began so innocently, the work place shifts to big companies And life becomes industrial The revolution made cities grow, the factories burning tons of coal And transportation over railways rolled The factories needed many hands The children labored beside their dads The workers were abused, the owners not accused The growth of industry ran amuck, quality of air began to suck Fresh air was sold out for a buck, when industry arrived.

In 1900 the auto was born, internal combustion became the norm But they didn’t predict the extent of its harm Then Henry Ford made his contribution to the industrial revolution But the assembly line didn’t hold much charm For people tied like slaves to machinery Twelve hours a day in a factory But every person could afford a Model-T made by Ford Soon pollution reared its ugly head To Earth’s fragile atmosphere we humans fed Exhausts containing tons of lead, when the auto came to life.                                     

For a hundred years pollution’s grown That simple fact can’t be left alone Because now it threatens to ruin our home Fuel combustion and transportation, are the polluters of this nation The poison will be passed on for generations Slash and burn add CO2, CFC’s from plastics too Will we ever learn, not to spurn, to have concern Because the atmosphere can accept a lot But endlessly pure it is not We must protect what we have got To keep ourselves alive.

I’m not saying that only man’s to blame The Earth has always had the flame and forest fires are still the same Volcanoes emit a deadly gas, much the same as what cows pass But their contributions are not in mass The present levels of CO2, are the product of me and you I’m sure that soon we’ll feel the heat As the supply of fresh air depletes As the mercury climbs out of sight, and for every breath we must fight And asthmatic children cry through the night Since the engine came to life.

Don’t believe the Earth is through, the next generation will start anew but outside now the sky is gray Put on my gas mask, walk out the door Stroll crowded city streets where engines roar And people on foot were only in the way In back alleys the old folks talked Of the days gone by when people walked When people were more alive, when humanity could survive And the three men I admire most, John Muir, Abbey and Thoreau Would be sick to see how pollution’s grown Since the engine came to life.


Author: Tim Hammell

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