Can veganism save the world!?

Here’s a brand new spoken word poem, sharing my thoughts on veganism, from the perspective of someone who worked in the vegan industry for years. May it serve all who are in need of it.

Poem Lyrics

Have you yet realised
That veganism is…Just another ism,
No more meaningful than how many people
Tell you you are good for being in it?

It’s unsuitably unsubtle,
Lacking nuance and while causing trouble
Disguises itself as a halo’d angel
All holier than thou as though life is a Disney fable

Life eats life from nature’s table
And only ignorance or idealism could convince a person
That their impossible burger is more beneficial
Than agricultural regeneration

Remember earlier when I asked you if you’d yet realised
With real eyes the real lies of the not-so-wise?
You see, the mistake of a so-called harm-free diet is the death inherent in it
The hidden cost of disconnection from the source of everything you eat
Presents itself when you discern horizon-filling fields of wheat

Featuring mono-cropping (a term dripping with understatement as to the evil it perpetuates),
Killing all except the holy grain or bean or genetically edited whatever,
Modified to handle more poisons than any man,
Bird, beetle, ladybug -or any other living form
Which would have made that land its home- Can handle
(Let alone the seeping of said poison into
Water, human animal and mother earth’s mantel)

And I used to believe in the simplicity
Of seeing no blood upon my plate
As though what I ate came without responsibility or weight
Just because it didn’t have a face

Since then, thankfully, complexity has made a friend of me
Humbly, intelligently opening me
To deep and flowingly
Life unfolding into everything, I see

That death follows life
And life follows death
And avoiding one denies the other
And all I get to choose is caring
For the birthing and the dying
This humbling response-ability
Of me loving me
Enough to know the death in what I eat
And the life it gifts to me

I am done with being holier than anything
My life is now a simpler offering
Getting low again, into the ground again
Feeling dirt between my toes again
Cleaning blood from under nails again
Letting tears of wonder lift my eyes again
Remembering that you are all my friends again
Eating, feeding, birthing, dying…Being.

Until the worms sing hallelujah in my skin
As mother once more takes me in
And ends me where new lives begin
Wrapped in dirt with a bone-white grin

I ran a vegan superfoods market stand for two years, moved to the UK from South Africa to work in a vegan cafe and a vegan dessert kitchen and basically was 100% sure that veganism was the bee’s knees (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Since then I and every single one of the pioneers I followed into these uncharted waters have reintroduced animal-based food back into our diets, for same reasons we initially moved towards plant-based living: ethics and health.

This time around, I hope, I have gone a little deeper than the oh-so-simple promise of guilt-free almond-milk lattes forever. This poem scratches the surface of what is obviously a deeply complex conversation. Wherever you are in your journey back to the dirt, may this open opportunities for loving conversations and joyful transformations.

Blessings on your road, dear friends
Love
nathan

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