I Am the Vegan Activist - By Will Tuttle

>>  Tuesday, October 15, 2013

  I Am the Vegan Activist
By Will Tuttle
I am the vegan activist,
   My heart filled with the wish to relieve the horrible suffering
   Mysteriously inflicted on animals seen as food.
   Rising early, sitting in silence every day, listening within, opening... dilating....
I am the day-old calf at the organic dairy,
   Pulled from my mother by strong hard hands, while she moans and bellows.
   Alone in a tight crate, I shiver, hungry, nursing on the iron bars.
I am the little child, being spoon-fed my first solid food.
    I keep spitting it out, but it keeps coming back, relentlessly.
   “Eat this,” mommy says, “it’s mashed potato and calves’ liver—it’s good for you.”
I am the little girl, on the day it sinks in—
   “Hot dogs,” “hamburgers,” “bacon,” “eggs,” “veal,” “chicken,” “liver,” “fish sticks”—
   You mean, it’s animals I’ve been eating?  A darkness enters my chest.
I am the young child, being taught how to fish.
   “Don’t worry, fish can’t feel any pain,” I’m told.
   “And even if they could, God gave ‘em to us to eat.”
   “Oh.  O.K.”
I am in the dentist’s chair,
   Immobilized, while he pulls, pries, drills: oh, it hurts!
   Deep down, I know he’s doing it for my own good...
I am the calf at branding time, castrating time,
   The pig at ear-notching, tail-docking time,
   The chicken at beak-cutting time,
   Immobilized, while he cuts me, burns my flesh—oh, it hurts!
   Rough hands that hurt me, the horror of strong inescapable hurting hands!
I am the minister at the church barbecue,
   Laughing, happy, my flock spread around me,
   Chewing on the ribs of lambs, why, we’ve raised five hundred dollars here today!
I am the cowboy at the rodeo.
   “Shock him good, I want him runnin’!”
   A quick chase and lasso throw, jerk the rope, he’s flat and down;
   I drink the cheers.
I am the young cow—another rodeo.
   The ropes and blows and cages, suddenly a searing pain, like a knife,
   A door flies open, I run to escape. Sudden slamming twisting agony;
   Cheers and laughter.
I am the former vegetarian, I’ve been there.
   I’m not rigid and judgmental, and anyway:
   A person’s body is not defiled by what goes in the mouth, but by what comes out.
I am the slaughterhouse worker,
   Prodding and poking cows along with my knife and electro-shocker,
   Like I was prodded and kicked when I was a kid.
I am the slaughterhouse foreman,
   Enslaved by demands for profit and production
  “Speed up the line!” we’re lagging—big trucks keep comin’, full of chickens.
I am the feedlot operator, fattening cattle.
   Belly hanging, back sore, joints aching, I sit down to a comforting steak.
  “Anyway, it’s not what goes into a man’s mouth...”
I am the terrified dairy cow,
   Still young, just five years old, facing the slaughterhouse chute,
   The pain of the prod, the fear so thick I can smell it, the hard hands. . . .
I am the young fattened turkey,
   Grabbed by one leg and hung upside down,
   Ligaments torn, I hang in the moving line with the others:
   Helpless pain and terror.
I am the self-shining Light of Infinite Love,
   I welcome every turkey, pig, cow, duck, chicken, lobster, fish—
  Not as animals, but as what they truly are—Myself.
  The nightmare ordeal over, their pain-wracked bodies forever left,
  I embrace them as the essence of what they are—
  The Joy that springs at the heart of the Universe,
  The only Life that is.
  And I embrace my other beloved children, when it is their time:
  The hardened slaughterhouse workers, the diseased housewives, the managers,
  The scholars and ministers, the vegetarians and non-vegetarians,
  The gorillas, the wolves, the pet cats and the hunted deer,
  I open and embrace every being with eternal utter love,
  And hold them forever as rays sent forth,
  And embrace them when they return, as the heart of their own heart,
  And they are judged only by themselves,
  And are punished only by their own actions in the endless rounds of being,
  Of learning and growing, of eventually understanding,
  Of celebrating Me, the utter joy and perfection of Being,
  The freedom shining in the heart of every being.
I am the vegan activist,
   My heart filled with knowing the perfection of being,
   And working hard to help relieve the horrible suffering
   Mysteriously inflicted on animals seen as food.

More poetry by Will Tuttle


Anonymous October 16, 2013 at 1:19 PM  

Will, your precious poem speaks to me of what all living beings really are: the perfect, joyful, spiritual, loving and loved emanations of the one infinite, eternal, perfect Cause and Creator of the universe.

Will, it looks like you've been studying the chapter "Footsteps of Truth" in Mary Baker Eddy's textbook, Science and Health! (She was a spiritual freedom-fighter extraordinaire, wasn't she?)

There's a passage on pp 253-253 talking about "the testimony of Spirit" that reads, in part: "I am Spirit. . . . The beauty of holiness, the perfection of being, imperishable glory, -- all are Mine, for I am God. I give immortality to man, for I am Truth. I include and impart all bliss, for I am Love. I give life, without beginning and without end, for I am Life. I am supreme and give all, for I am Mind. I am the substance of all, because I AM THAT I AM."

And, Will, your line about those who are "punished only by their own actions in the endless rounds of being" reminds me of Eddy's explanation: "Sin punishes itself, because it cannot go unpunished either here or hereafter."

Finally, your next lines -- "Of learning and growing, of eventually understanding, Of celebrating Me, the utter joy and perfection of Being" -- bring to mind this comforting passage by the same author: "Tireless Being, patient of man's procrastination, affords him fresh opportunities every hour."

Dear Bea, bless you for publishing Will's ode to all peace-bringing, freedom-ringing vegan activists.

Bea Elliott October 17, 2013 at 4:59 PM  

Glad you like the poem Anonymous! And thanks for your visit and your input. ;)