When life teemed
Long ago, when there was a fraction of our present numbers, man sailed the ocean in big wooden sailing boats. The world was infinite, the seas raged and there was danger everywhere. The brave men saw death at every corner.
When they spied land they replenished their stocks of fresh water and meat. For simplicity they raided the breeding grounds and took on board tons of carcasses. They captured the huge leatherback turtles and turned them upside down on deck so they had fresh meat, oblivious to the hot sun and suffering. They clubbed the baby seals and birds and left the colonies wrecked. For the supply was endless. It mattered little.
They used live animals as ballast in barrels because it was easier than collecting rocks or digging sand. The animals died in agony and rotted in the holds to be discarded into the sea when port was reached.
Life was cheap. People were heartless. The bounty was never-ending.
Except the planet is not infinite, the stocks are not endless and within a short while the teeming wildlife has been reduced to a fraction of what once was. There is probably less than 1% of what there was a hundred years ago. Billions have died.
This is the first verse of a longer poem I have written about this cruelty and mindlessness. We are busy sowing the seeds of our own demise.
When life teemed
Long timber frames and sail
Bravely crossing oceans
Into the throat of gale and swell
To bludgeon, slash and cruelly stash
The feather, claw and shell.
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