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Strip Pits Near Frontenac

By John I. Blair

East past the wind-blown prairie
Spread square-set Kansas roads,
Ordered cornrows, pregnant orchards,
Fertile rivers, lily-dotted ponds,
Lawn-bordered streets in Norman Rockwell towns.

But beyond a line of weedy brush intrude
Barren mounds, rust-tinted ground,
A headhouse falling down its shaft,
Miles of rocky tailings rimmed by sterile moats,
Man-made desolation.

Any mine’s an insult to the earth;
These are a parable writ large,
Dark retorts to claims of stewardship,
Reports of greed, not love,
Raping the land instead of caring.

Years of mandatory restoration,
Reparation for wrong done,
Leave artificial fields like scars,
Like ragged blankets roughly drawn
To cover tear-filled victims.

©2004 John I. Blair  

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