Friday, 23 of February of 2018

Mathew Haun — Alive and Well


Freddie Ranger blazed a road, unleashing sedimentation
Threw some straw bales down on top and called it mitigation…

Welcome to the great land of Idaho
Where there’s some long-time locals just dying to know
Where did the rights to their land and water go
That’s what the Nez Perce were wondering not so long ago

Well, we didn’t want hostile Injuns around to bore us
So now we got the Nez Perce National Forest
Where there’s a huge chunk of land sort of safe from attack
But there is one living heart in there kinda slipped through the cracks
And it isn’t just the loggers who are feeling the lack
The grey wolf and salmon are dying to come back

They used to have this doctrine called “Multiple Use”
But in practice it turned out to be a little obtuse
‘Cause while some dumb-ass nature lover might leave a candy wrapper
Some dumb ass with a chainsaw sends the whole thing down the crapper
So now they want to demonstrate a more environmental bent
And the big buzzword now is “Ecosystem Management”

The word management has been theirs all along
But the word ecosystem, hey, that used to be our song
I’ve never doubted their devotion to management
But it’s clear they don’t know what ecosystem means yet

It doesn’t mean wiping out virgin stands
So you can have virgin paper for your fucking forest plans
Where you neutralize watershed, streams and lakes
With ‘dozers, chainsaws and survey stakes
To manifest some vision of gouged and ugly
Export the logs and watch the locals go hungry

No, that’s not what ecosystem means
Come down for a minute; come off of your machines
I don’t care if you hate us or even ignore us
But come and take a look at what happens in the forest

Look at that huge old snag bereft of living crown
It’s gonna take centuries to bring that mother down
And for the bugs that live there and the woodpeckers that eat ’em
You take that wood away and that’s a nasty way to cheat ’em

‘Cause that tree has drawn its life from the soil rich and black
Now it has given up its life and it’s going to give it back
And when some sweet little sapling comes popping through the duff
And sees that great mother towering in the air
Then it knows where the sweetness at its roots came from
It knows the legacy it will one day bear

Yeah, this is true climax forest here
I tell you this without a doubt
And things take a long long time in the forest
And that’s what true climax is all about

So while you’re taking off on your road-building tizzy
‘Cause we’ve got to have jobs and be busy busy busy
And you rip those giving mothers right out of the ground
And drag them off bleeding to the dead tree impound
Now haul them down the highway, stripped and dead
So they can see your cities sickening
No, that’s not what ecosystem means
It means this land is alive and well and kicking

A man of authority once told me for sure
That I was being young and stupid and one day I would mature
To accept the plunder of this living land
As long as I could pay off my condo and my van

My elders taught me to be a little more discreet
We may be young and stupid; but by goddess we’re on our feet
So load up on donuts boy, Mmm Mmm good
You’re gonna need that sugar rush to run me down in these woods

Now haul me down the highway mugged and cuffed
So I can see your system sickening
And I’ll tell you what ecosystem means
This land is alive and well and kicking

Matthew Haun
Fall 1994 The Warrior Poet

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