Campbell’s Condensed #poetry #earthweal

Campbell’s condensed
the Primordial Soup
into a can 
for your convenience. 

Of course
it isn’t quite that simple:
millions of years of evolution 
biodiverse branching of the tree of life came first

then came the industrial revolution
of one particular species 
calling itself homo sapiens or
‘Wise men:’ 

They found the cheapest way
to feed the masses for the greatest profit,
spraying away the competition,
heterogenising crops. 

Now the wise men harvest profits in the trillions
while tenant farmers starve, who understand 
crop failure means an empty stomach, 
not only an empty hand. 

Upon a handful of staples
6 billion souls rely
hacking their way through both ends of the food chain who
in their blind frenzy, fail to see

a pyramid of soup cans, teetering:
remove one from the bottom 
all shall fall.
From the vantage of our privileged position
we fail to see
we stand to lose it all.

© All Rights Reserved.

Featured image: By Hu Totya – own picture, Fair use,

Written for earthweal

This week, Brendan challenges us to write about biodiversity. How this led me to Andy Warhol’s soup cans, I am not entirely sure, but this poem is the result.

41 thoughts on “Campbell’s Condensed #poetry #earthweal

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  1. This is a brilliant one Ingrid. The image of all those soup cans, and what that represents. Brilliant

  2. Great message, Ingrid. I love the image and idea of the soup cans.

    Here’s a fun fact. Down the street from us is a place called Soupy Island (it’s not an island), but it’s on the river. There was an organization that used to bring poor children over there to play “in the country”–and they fed them soup at lunch time. This was early 20th Century. At some point more recently, Campbell Soup helped sponsor it and donated soup and crackers. There’s still an old-fashioned carousel there.

  3. We are swimming in the anthropocene soup, for sure. I long for a return to small farms, away from the mess corporate agriculture has created. Loved your poem. You hit the nail on the head.

  4. Sigh. My comment disappeared. We are swimming in the anthropocene soup for sure. I long for a return to small farms, given the mess corporate agriculture has created. You hit the nail on the head, with this wise poem.

  5. And it’s some poopy soup. Of course the country that manufactures that soup refuses to join the Biodiversity Compact. We’re too wrong from the start.

  6. A depressing reality….Canned food and processed food has so much crap in it..does not bear thinking about …There will come a time when public parks and reserves will be used for growing fruit and veg….In WW2 when everyone was encouraged to do this the general health of the population was better than it was in pre war England

  7. Creative and inventive writing, Ingrid. Several standout phrases. 👏🏻 I time traveled with you from the soup aisle to the beginning of time. An engaging write about what is so easily taken for granted – how our food makes it to the table, if not grown by our own hands.

  8. Our stores carry “heirloom tomatoes.” You can buy seeds of old varieties of vegetables and wildflowers. Some farmers have a hobby of preserving old breeds of cattle. Somehow, I think we know that biodiversity is important, even in this age of industrial farms and GMO produce.

    Habitat loss and pollution are causing extinction of species in the wild and threatening the balance of nature.

    “We fail to see we stand to lose it all.” I totally agree, Ingrid. It’s quite scary! Thank you for this warning about a little- known danger.

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