The Victims of Civilization


The end of another year: Time to remember
The victims who wait, without hope
For the freedom they can only imagine.

The children and spouses who suffer daily
Behind closed doors
From the horrific abuses of those made sick
By civilization’s relentless stresses.

The farmed animals, and those in pens
In laboratories, kennels and cages,
Places we dare not ever see inside,
For their meat, their organs, their blood,
The painful experiments that never end,
Or just locked up from neglect and ignored.

The poor, caught in a web of helplessness
In the struggling nations of the world, and
In our inner cities and ghetto suburbs everywhere,
And right next door, that neighbour
Alone, proud, out of sight and mind,
Living in constant solitude and dread.

And the creatures of all species
Fleeing civilization’s relentless advance:
Clearcuts, clouds of toxins, cluster bombs
And the other technologies of ‘development’
We never see because we do not want to see,
Improving the land to extinction.

On this day, one day closer to its demise
We think of the victims of civilization
And tell them we’re sorry:
The authorities of this world
Say that we cannot afford
The ransom to spare them.

Like the agony
Of inmates of concentration camps
Institutions of ‘correction’
And of the ‘insane’,
Slave labour centres
And gulags and prisons everywhere
In all human societies
Since civilization’s terrible ascent,
Their suffering is all seen as necessary,
A cost of Progress.

And we are not yet ready
To learn these victims’ awful truths,
And to proclaim that that cost is too high.

Their New Year will not be Happy.

Artwork: Overgrown by Cheri Ives, 2002

This entry was posted in Creative Works. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Victims of Civilization

  1. Carroll says:

    Sobering thoughts, Dave. Serious sobering important thoughts. Thank you.

  2. Jennifer says:

    a lot of the time such sacrifices are merely ritual and not substantiated as necessary by the various disciplines of philosophy, psychology, and other humanistic and empirical disciplines

  3. M. Williams says:

    Thanks.I’d like a permalink for this but the current one keeps taking me to a 12/13 post … Not sure why … (a minor problem in the scheme of things, surely.)

  4. cindy says:

    Hello Dave,Late Friday afternoon I went to my vet for a refilled of medication for one of my cats. While there I had to withness a most heartless couple’s attempt to do to their cat. They wanted to put the cat to sleep because he urinates around the house. The vet refused because the cat is physically healthy. BUT I wonder what would they do to this cat? Took it somewhere and let it out of the carrier and hope that it will never find his/her way back? I wish the vet (she was replacing my vet who is on vacation) would have kept the cat and call the animal humane society. It was 2 days before new year with -4 C outside. Human kindness apparently was not on the mind of this couples. Cindy

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, all. The permalink is now fixed. Cindy, your story is all too common, which is why I could never work at an animal shelter — I’d become either homicidal or suicidal in a matter of days. Many shelters now won’t even take stray/unwanted cats (too many of them) leaving vets in a quandary.

Comments are closed.