Friday, April 20, 2012


I have long been concerned about pollution and its harmful effects, about the growing number of endangered species, and about the abuse, misuse, and waste of the earth's natural resources. About forty years ago I expressed that concern in a poem, which was inspired by something the prophet Isaiah wrote nearly two thousand years ago: The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant (Isaiah 24:5).Although what Isaiah meant by pollution and what we mean by it are not the same, if Isaiah were alive today, he would have plenty to say about pollution!


Isaiah's words of long ago are relevant today,
prophetic to an ominous degree:
Polluted lies the planet Earth, as its inhabitants
are poisoning the air, the land, the sea.

The toxic wastes, the urban blight, the suffocating smog,
are symptoms and the causes of disease.
for human beings choke beneath pollution's brownish pall,
which also threatens birds and beasts and trees.

God gave humanity dominion over all the world,
which God created beautiful and good.
But we have squandered and misused the riches of the earth,
instead of being stewards, as we should.

The ruthlessness of power and the arrogance of wealth
  have dulled the human heart to human need.
So millions live in poverty and die from lack of food,
the victims of our apathy and greed.

God's statutes have been broken and God's laws have been transgressed,
and surely we shall suffer for our sin.
The madness of a race to arms of nuclear design
was leading to a war no one could win.

What senseless folly drives us down this self-destructive course?
How can we dare ignore our sacred trust
from God, to tend the universe and care for all of life?
By God's grace that we can do ---and we must!

(This poem is included in my third volume of poetry,
entitled IF I DO SAY SO MYSELF, CSS Publishing Co.)

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