On a rickety front porch of a one hundred year old house,
I sit proud of my heritage. These mountains are not short
Because they are naive; they are short and old and wise.
Coal divides the rich and the poor in an equation of greed.
Coal sends poverty moving in the regions where it is mined,
If the people live at all. Nothing is as ugly as a dead mountain.
In Appalachia the culture is rich. In the city, in the country –
The heart and soul of the nation somehow remains on these
Moist coves and ridges. But Appalachian people are conflicted.
We want to eat, but the coal company prices our land.
It seems the only way to survive is to sell out or move away.
Appalachia was here long before YOU turned on that light.
Appalachia was here long before YOU paid the electric bill.
God will not damn you for killing me, my heart, my land.
You are the one who turned my sacred land into this hell on earth.
In my mountain, there I have a favorite place, to watch
The seasons. I will welcome you to my porch, invite you in
For beans and biscuits. There is a willow tree that hangs over
The creek. The world has not fallen to pieces here, yet.
But Appalachia knows that time is long, and lives are short.
Appalachia knows that trees do not grow back the way they were
Ever. There is always a give and take in nature. But here,
My mountains give, and YOU take. When will it end?
Which will sing last, the bird or the saw, or the toxic
Pollution that takes over our world in the poorest places.
So that no one looks until it is too late. I have a vision
Of myself, years from now, but not that far away,
Laying down my life before my mountains. Because they
Are the one thing that I would die for. So that if I have to
Be buried, at least I will lie in the right place.