Wangari Maathai Poem by Alla Bozarth

Wangari Maathai

Unbowed toward men
she bows only to Earth, our Mother.

She speaks truth to men with brutality in their brains
and they beat her and imprison her, but while her body heals
her mind grows stronger and her voice grows freer.
She continues to speak.

She speaks for our Mother in a clear mother’s voice:
Harm not the Earth nor Her children.

The men with brutality in their brains beat her again when she demands
that they abandon their insane plan to tear up a garden in the city
and replace it with another phallic skyscraper. She wins that one.
Victory after victory, Earth wins through her persistent labor.

She shows how poverty and the degradation of Earth
and the oppression of women and children are one.

She dreams of trees and plants them.
But it is not enough. She dreams of poor women
throughout the land receiving livelihood and planting trees.
She calls the women into alliance— The Green Belt Movement.
She gives them momentum and they do not stop moving.

Professor of veterinary science and champion of all living beings,
she pays a small stipend to poor women to plant trees.
One by one, the forests return to her homeland of Kenya.

She remembers the spirits of rivers and streams she loved as a child.
She remembers how Mother Earth used to be before the greedy
men with brutality in their brains assaulted Her.

When personal and professional attacks come, she runs for Parliament
as candidate for the National Rainbow Coalition and wins,
defeating the ruling party.

She is appointed Assistant Minister in the Ministry for Environment
and Natural Resources. She founds the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya
to allow candidates to run on a conservation platform as modeled by
the Green Belt Movement. It becomes a member of the Federation
of Green Parties of Africa and of the Global Greens.

When the people of France award her the Legion of Honor in thanks,
the men with brutality in their brains try to beat her.

When the world gives her the Nobel Peace Prize for her work
to make peace between humanity and Earth—
the foaming-mouth men with brutality in their brains
try to beat her with words and false accusations,
but her Truth wins out.

She has left us now, but her clear mother’s voice rings loud and clear.
Her true-speaking voice rings loud and clear.

She can be beaten no more, and her spirit still speaks.
For all we who have heard and been blessed by the truth
are her voices now. Inspiring each other, we sisters and brothers
who hear and speak out give strength and hope to our children,
who will speak out for the future.

All you who hear today,
make it so for tomorrow—

This poem is from the book Diamonds in a Stony Field
by Alla Renée Bozarth, copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Alla Bozarth

Alla Bozarth

Portland, Oregon
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