I am not a criminal.

I am not a criminal

I am ducking my responsibility

Before it comes

To telling my grandchildren

(For I shall have none)

That I am the one who did these things;


I am the one who choked the sea

With plastic, wrapped conveniently

Around everything I could ever need

(And some things I didn’t)

To keep them sanitary, clean

Never mind the lungs and eyes

The breaking hearts of those unseen,

Never mind the damaged soil

Pits of poison, smoke’s toxic roil,

Death dripping from the very pores

Of those I never knew, never heard of before.

It was me.


I am the one who chained the men

The women, and the children when

I bought the things which owned their lives

Paid their captors, swallowed the lies,

Ignored the truths I didn’t like

So I could shop, accessorise

Get more stuff, more things, so I

Could plug the holes inside my brain

With gizmos, gadgets, all the same,

All designed to hypnotise –

A smokescreen I would surely buy.

It was me.


I am the one who killed the trees

My carbon footprint running free

A breeze of coughed-up gasoline

And factory smoke, and things unseen

Which leak from gadgets unsafe, un-green

But things I need to keep on up

To pinion life, drink technology’s cup

Of profit-mongering, insistent sheen

To gild the lily of my life, I mean

I need access to all these screens.

It was me.


I am the one who ran the slaves

Existent in this modern day

But hidden, carefully away

From prying eyes and media lens

Just in case we’d have to cleanse

The way we do things – the system works

We use, abuse, discard their lives for perks

For clothes and sweets

With nary a thought

For the ghost in the system

The humans bought, and sold

So we get what we ought .

It was me.


I was the one who tortured and maimed

Sweet animals whose lives were claimed

Destroyed from birth to feed my face

Hidden from the human race

Except for those whose ailing brains

Kill for me, over and over again

Who I’m so quick to vilify

“But it was all for you”

Their cry rings true

And I sit chagrined

Memories of teeth tearing meat

Grease dripping finger-swept down my chin

Not a thought for the lives trapped within

The process of my greed.

It was me.


I am the one who ruined the earth

Who never saw its real worth

Who ignored the wisdoms once bequeathed

To those who followed, too enwreathed

In our own lives, so turned our backs

On what was good, and now we lack

The control, the capability, to undo

What we’ve done, so we

Just bury our heads and close our eyes

We’re not criminals – there’s no crime

We put pennies in the collection pot

And think we’re doing fine

‘Cos we’re contributing;

Assuaging our conscience

Deliberately misconstruing

Our place in all this,

And our responsibility.

When will we stand up?

Own up.

It was me.

26 thoughts on “I am not a criminal.

  1. I don’t know what awards are given to poets, but this one certainly deserves one. You have spoken profound truth in a way that can’t help but touch the hearts and minds of many people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pat, that’s such a wonderful thing to hear. I think that’s all poets ever want, really – to know someone else has read their poem and felt something because of it 😘


  2. It’s hard to know where to start. What cause to put your attention on, what issue to address in your own life. It ALL seems like such a mess.
    This is gorgeous writing. Writing is always a good place to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Precious.
      There will never be a place to stop, only so, so many places to begin it can fewl utterly overwhelming. The point is, as you say, to begin with one of the places in our own lives we know we can improve upon, and go from there. We can all begin with ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s so much to this… the psychological “need” for things. The convenience of things. Of food. Of ignorance and tradition and “normal.” The wanting and buying and the deception of companies over goods made… Technology and progress, repression and spoilage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. It’s worse than any kind of mythical hydra – the bits we try to do to fix things domino into a negative somewhere else, and no solution seems to be workable, even for parts of the pieces which are dreadful. It’s all so unsustainable and yet…we don’t have any realistic alternatives 😢


      • True. In so many ways we (especially in the so called “developed” world) are trapped in a system with a pathological relationship with the natural living world, one that does not know how to take really seriously the truth that we, as a species, are not separate and somehow independent of the great web of life.

        “If you don’t hold the frogs in the waterfalls as sacred as the human family, you’re doomed.” – Barry Commoner

        Liked by 1 person

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