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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'The Man In The Suit'

 This week’s Stowe, Vermont, poet Astrid Young pleads with us to remember the fragile nature of our planet.
YWP Photo Library, image by Vivien Sorce, Hinesburg, Vermont
This week’s Stowe, Vermont, poet Astrid Young pleads with us to remember the fragile nature of our planet.";

The Lorax tried, but he couldn’t stop him.
It is my turn to make him understand.
I speak; my leaves brush against my fellow saplings.
I feel; my roots dig deep into the soil
and I hold hands with baby maples.
My home is this Earth, and my job is to breathe.
I cannot breathe if you light my branches ablaze,
if you cloud the air around me with smoke.
My roots cannot sink deep beneath the soil
if your machines continue to rip them from the ground.
I cannot live if your need for Palm Oil
surpasses my need for a clean forest bottom.
I wish your machines would fall silent,
and I wish your egos and greed
would let up for a few seconds…
enough seconds for me to take one more breath
before ash fills my lungs once more.
I feel myself speaking, I feel my leaves rustling –
and yet I feel like no one is listening.
If I am so tall and grand,
how can I be so overlooked, so taken for granted?
How has the man in the suit
found a way to dig those like me up,
despite their screaming and clinging?
He has burned my family, my underbrush.
I am a very tall tree.
I overlook almost all the rainforest,
and I am beginning to feel
I am the only one left standing.
After all, the man in the suit has destroyed so much,
I wonder what there is left to burn or left to dig.
Nothing. There will be nothing.
His cash flow will end, and my life will go with it.
Because he doesn’t listen to screaming, so I must speak –
while I have time, of course.
The Lorax did his best, but even our furry little friend
couldn’t show the man in the suit right and wrong.
But it is my turn to speak for the trees, those left anyway,
and I expect all of the men in the suits,
the ones who have caused me harm,
to finally sit down and listen.

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