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The Strip Pits

By John I. Blair

Even as a five-year-old
I knew this was wrong –
Miles and miles of countryside
Ripped apart for coal
That lay too shallow
For tunnels to be practical.

But how practical was this?
Coal gone, sterile waste
Piled in endless mounds
Contaminated water festering
In brackish ponds.

Here and there a fragment
Could be seen of what was lost:
Sunny meadows, hayfields
Where the seam ran thin.

Greed had painted
Its rapaciousness
With the effigy of need
Just long enough
To make a carcass
Of the living land.

Since those days
Time’s slow love
Has healed some;
More is screened
With trees, vines.

What doesn’t show
Is the degree
To which we’re taught
By history.

©2018 John I. Blair, 1/25/2018

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