My Children / by Academy Monthly

I wrote this poem for an assignment in my English class, AP Madmen and Geniuses. My initial idea behind this poem came from a topic I was interested in writing more about. I had planned to include it in a presentation Meaghan Toscano and I did on the atomic bomb, but it did not fit, and this poem presented the perfect opportunity. What I wanted to analyze was this idea: usually, when talking about the effects of the atomic bomb and science, we only mention the damage done to human lives, and disregard the environmental consequences. This question was inspired by Cat’s Cradle, as well as the research Meaghan and I did on the atomic bomb. The poem is focused on human selfishness and greed in relation to the Earth. Therefore, the speaker of this poem is Mother Earth. Throughout the poem, humans are referred to and presented as one of Mother Earth’s children, along other living creatures on this planet. As a result, the poem explores a unique parent-child relationship. The mother, Mother Earth is selfless, giving her all to humans, but they take advantage of that and use her to their own benefit. Humans use the Earth’s resources for science, but end up destructing it. To illustrate this idea better, I included a few allusions in the poem. The first one, “freeze my waters,” is an allusion to Cat’s Cradle, specifically ice-nine. Felix Hoenikker creates ice-nine as a scientific wonder; however, it ends up destroying the Earth at the end of the novel. His scientific creation is used as a weapon against the Earth. The second allusion, “infect my fiery deserts,” refers to the atomic bomb, as it was first tested at the Trinity Site in New Mexico. The atomic bomb, although a great discovery, was extremely detrimental to the environment. Finally, the third allusion, “luscious carmine apples,” refers to the story of Adam and Eve. Their story is another example of human greed. Through these allusions, I tried to connect my poem to greater examples of human destruction and selfishness. 

You are my children, 

Among many others.

I give you food and water.

I give you

Life.


I see you bloom. 

I see you build.

I gave you my world,

My land, my skies, my seas.

Where did I go wrong?


Freeze my waters, melt my slopes.

Watch the drips trickling down. 

Catch them in your hands,

Not letting one hit the ground.

Dry the land, quench your thirst.


Scorch my lush paddy fields, 

Warp my majestic ranges,

Slash my towering Redwoods,

Befoul my bounteous seas, and

Infect my fiery deserts.


My tears bring your harvest, your

Luscious carmine apples.

The blood of your siblings

Fills your ravenous stomach.

Their soft skin,

Ivory tusks, and

Velvety fleece 

Are your embellishments.


You used my soft grass to crawl. 

I gave you my hands to stand.

I held your hands when you walked.

I nursed you and fed you with my bare hands.


You cannot be without me.

I give you life, yet

You are killing me.