The Years of Purple Mountains

[a poem by   ~burning woman~]

 How well I remember
The years of purple mountains
Rising above morning mists
In a distant west;
Of bright blue skies
Dotted with white clouds
Shadowing green hills
And higher still
Dark lines of evergreens
Demarcation between grass
And stark grey rocky faces,
Postcard of nature’s mantle.

I remember placid cows
Peacefully grazing
Rolling fields of rich clover;
Colourful barns and tall silos
Enclosed in white fences
And colts galloping freely
While a mighty river
Flowed majestically
To the grey ocean.

How well I remember
Those years of growing up,
Dreaming of such a land
As images passed by
On the breakfast table
Day after day after day:
Pretty labels, pretty ads
On cans of milk;
On cereal boxes
That fed childhood dreams.

Years later I did see
The purple mountains in morning mists,
The placid cows and gamboling colts.
I saw that river flowing to the grey ocean,
Made my home by it’s shores
And learned to paddle its currents.
I smelled the spring flowers;
Tasted the briny air while watching
Grey waves slither and slide
Over gravelly and sandy shores

And I fell in love.  Long ago.

Now many more years have passed:
The mountains are scarred,
Dry and dead, snows melted off;
Streams of mud and slash
Fill a poisoned river with mud;
Gated communities and high-rises
Replace the grass, feedlots
Mud and steel replace white fences
And flowers no longer grow
Along the roadsides.

One generation, armed with science
Technology and moved by greed:
All it took to kill it all. 
Has this horror made it stop?
No. Like the forever war,
The killing continues apace.

Death, the only possible legacy
of a generation of the entitled.

Paraphrase:  Esau came back from his fields hungry.  His brother Jacob had a pot of beans cooking on the fire and the smell stirred up his hunger even more.  Give me some of your beans, Jacob, I’m dying of hunger.  Jacob replied, I’ll feed you if you trade me your elder’s birthright for my beans.  Esau reasoned thus, What good is a birthright when I’m dying of hunger?  He made the trade, sold his birthright for a “mess of pottage.” There be a lesson never learned in that biblical tale.    

13 thoughts on “The Years of Purple Mountains

  1. Rosaliene Bacchus

    Well said, Sha’Tara. The death toll of other species and human lives deemed worthless continue to pile up in giant mounds.

    The transformation of our landscapes and lives was all done in the name of progress and development. A blessing. A curse. A loss of innocence. I stand guilty as a participant of this change and degradation. The time of the undoing is here. I must do my part.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Rosaliene. Yes, we were lied to, in spades. I remember the meetings on futuristic trends; the push for technocracy; the quasi-divine status being given to “science” by people who had just survived a global war and a generation that inherited to following “good times” of the Marshall Plan and other fake renewals when the profits of war were replaced by the profits of consumerism. It wasn’t war that brought is where we are today, it was consumerism! First world people became proud, ignorant, fat and hoarders… all of it at the expense of a nebulous “Third World” that was essentially nothing more than billions of slaves for North Americans and Europeans. These fattened calves never realized another truism: that calves are fattened for the slaughter. The slaughter has begun, and how deep the “culling” will go remains to be seen. You say, quote: “The time of the undoing is here. I must do my part.” All I can say to you and those like yourself, is, know where, and how, to use your power best. Don’t waste it… wisdom is greatly needed right now for any choice we make will have dire consequences.


  2. poeturja

    An amazing poem…Dylan warned us about this decades ago (“pellets of poison are flooding our waters” etc.) but our generation became the “Establishment” and have forgotten because of their greed, I also like the tie-in with the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks. “Our” generation, the Hippie generation, sold out, pure and simple. Even way back when, as I pulled out of the “movement” I could see the inevitable ; the return to the safe, comfortable, profitable status quo and that’s when the writing on the wall appeared for me. It didn’t need a Daniel to translate its meaning. That’s when I quit “activism” and learned to become an observer. A “Watcher” who could see into the future and understand that a beast had come unto its own on earth and begun to eat its own tail. I watched it go crazy as I deftly stayed out of the reach of its lashings and thrashings, and now I watch it die as it takes an entire world down with itself. The mad beast is mankind. It could stop, but it will not. I could throw a challenge to the entire world of man on this: prove me wrong! — and it would not, could not. There be many ancient sayings which modern man in his obdurate and rising pride has chosen to ignore, a most important one being, you shall reap whatever you sow. Sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. It’s also called the law of “cause and effect.” There is another law called the law of thermodynamics which is seriously making itself felt at the moment. Though it is an unforgiving law, hardly anyone is paying attention to the end result of entropy. So, there you have it.


  3. Phil Huston

    Amazingly excellent. Words as postcards of then and now. It even caused me to invent a word. “Savorable.” I suppose it would look more impressive in the Queen’s English, “savourable.” Regardless, such it is.


  4. Phil Huston

    You? Speechless? You’re welcome, but the thanks belongs to you for the savorable gift. Not all sold out. But the anchor of the American dream held fast through the haze and dreams of a better day. No matter how badly we all wanted to teach the world to sing, at the end of the day we became a cultural Coke commercial. “Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac.” We failed to realize the bills we thought we had to pay weren’t the bills that were really coming due.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Quote: ” No matter how badly we all wanted to teach the world to sing, at the end of the day we became a cultural Coke commercial.” So aptly put. No, not all sold out, but “they” never need all, they only need enough to push their reality upon the majority. It’s a trick learned from organized religion.



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