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If Your Tears Were Human
Poems By Heather Leughmyer

By Amanda Moeckel

Our Children

Behind the bars of their prison
In a corner they cower
Huddled and clinging
Hour by hour
Their small bodies tremble
Their eyes wide with fear
So much like our children
And yet, they are here.

No bottles or blankets
No toys or play
No mother to hold them
To rock worry away
Why some babies are safe
Why some aren’t, it’s not clear
They are just like our children
But our children aren’t here.

Another day gone
But they won’t feel the sun
They will never climb trees
Or be able to run
Indifference surrounds them
Yet with each little tear
Like our children they suffer
So why are they here?

A Baby's Story

I am born, just one second old,
My wriggly red body first feels the cold-
As I fall to the floor, there is no soft landing,
And the stench in the air, beyond my understanding-
My first moments on earth seem somehow all wrong…
Where’s mama’s nuzzle? What’s taking so long?

Finally my mouth finds the liquid I crave,
With no sign of a nuzzle, I try to be brave-
My tiny frame quivers, from fear or from cold
Until finally sleep saves me, this naïve one-day-old.

When my eyes finally open, and I see this awful place,
I will see my mama’s misery, the sadness in her face-
The reason she can’t touch me…rusted bars that enslave,
The waste on the floor of this huge sunless cave.

Soon I will feel the suffering that billions have to know-
Corporate greed surrounds me, as I begin to grow.

Eyes of an Elephant

The majestic grace
Of your silhouette
Your enormous frame
Makes some forget
From the shadowed stands
They don’t see your eyes
How they reveal
A thousand lies.

They would see your freedom
Ripped away
They would see the price
You had to pay
The day you wept
As your mother lay dying
And they didn’t care
That her baby was crying.

You should be strong
You should be proud
Now you cringe before
A roaring crowd
Callously “broken”
So long ago
And forced to perform
This awkward show.

Caught up in the moment
As you “entertain”
They don’t notice the bull hooks
The scars, the pain
From their seats they don’t see
What your eyes say so well
If they saw they’d be sure
Yes, there’s a hell.

Through a Beagle's Eyes

I use to be excited, to see you everyday-
I thought perhaps you’d take me home,
that maybe we could play.
As time went by, my tail grew limp,
I circled round and round.
Please tell me what I did so wrong
to be here in this pound?

Yesterday I saw you take my little friend away-
I don’t know where you took him,
but he isn’t back today.
I know that he was sick though,
cause his cage was caked with red.
His eyes were sad and empty-
He had stitches in his head.

I feel so all alone here-
All I have to do is wait.
I want a loving face to lick,
a toy or a mate.
But lately I just lay here,
not feeling very good.
I stopped eating yesterday,
if it didn’t hurt I would.

Here you come to get me-
It must be my turn now.
So I don’t get you dirty,
you wrap me in a towel.
As I lay here on the table,
and I look into your face-
Again I wonder what I did
to be in this awful place?

If your Tears Were Human

Your language, to us, is foreign
Yet your fear is still the same-
We may not notice tears fall
Yet your body feels the pain.
Your innocence is stolen
Like the hope once in your eyes-
So many like you suffer,
So much beauty dies.

If your tears were human
And you could speak with words-
Your suffering might touch more hearts
Your pleas just might be heard.
If only you could paint your pain
Compose a melancholy song-
Maybe then we’d understand
What we thought was right is wrong.

Your body is our instrument
For you, there is no rest-
To us, you’re just some fast food
Or the data from some test.
Chained and caged, you entertain
You’re a coat without a voice-
We could live life differently,
For you, there is no choice.

If your tears were human
And you could speak with words-
Your suffering might touch more hearts
Your pleas just might be heard.
If only you could paint your pain
Compose a melancholy song-
Maybe then we’d understand
What we thought was right is wrong.

I hope someday we understand
What we think is right is wrong.

In the Name of Tradition

In a smothering sea of white
Gentle beauty is lost
Born and bred to be dinner
Whatever the cost.
Debeaked, detoed, crippled and weak
Disease running rampant
Your future is bleak.
In a huge sunless warehouse
Tens of thousands crammed tight
Kept like a secret
Out of mind, out of sight.

When your body is fattened
And you collapse from the weight
You are grabbed by rough hands
And sent to your fate.
Hung by your feet
Flapping and scared
Still conscious, confused
If only they cared.
Your neck is then slit
By a mechanized blade
As life drains from your body
You’re alone and afraid.
Another beside you
Misses the knife
Still conscious, she’s boiled
Slowly ending her short life.

Neatly you are packaged
Shipped to every store
Butterball makes money
Spent breeding millions more.
Behind the tidy shrink-wrap
Is a mutilated bird
Who had feelings and emotions
And cries that went unheard.

In the name of “tradition”
Tens of millions will die
Somehow their sad remains
Seem so wrong with pumpkin pie.

Number 968

Number 968 was born in July
Number 892 is nervous and shy

"Free to good home" was 843
Number 627 can no longer see

Number 585 scratches both ears
Number 417 has circled for years

Numbers 389 through 397
Were no longer needed
Now they're in heaven

Always tucking her tail
Is number 213
Pain relief for 200
Remains to be seen

172 has lost so much weight
And tomorrow it's over
For 148

For 121 through 135
Tomorrow the test
That none will survive

Numbers 1 through 100
Have all been through hell
Behind each number now
Remains an empty cell

If consumers stopped the funding
It could just change a fate
It could just make a difference
For 9 hundred 68.

A New Beginning

She gazes with love
Into small almond eyes
And forgets for a moment
The buzzing of flies.
He looks up at her
In an instant he knows
She’ll keep him safe
And help him to grow.

Just as their bond
Begins to grow strong
He’s pulled away roughly
Something is wrong.
He looks back at her
She gets further away
She lets out a cry
She wants him to stay.

Distress disregarded
Fear forgotten so well
He’s forced onto a ramp
On the road to his hell.
Crammed into a truck
With so many others
All of them frightened
Torn from mothers.

When the truck finally stops
They’re led out one by one
Chained by the neck
Denied mom’s milk and sun.
There in the darkness
In tiny stalls they wait
Unable to move
Unaware of their fate.

Mechanical hands and hormones
Having babies ripped away
Soon take their toll on her
She has just one more day.
As she’s shoved into a truck
He’s hauled into another
By this same time tomorrow
He will finally see his mother.

But this time will be different
No bars, no crate, no chain
Sunlight replaces darkness
Pastures replace the pain.
The bond they share can grow this time
They’ll never have to part
They’ll live as nature meant them to
As they should have from the start.

What If It Were Me

He’s just a baby yet he’ll never reach one
I could hide behind a smile
They travel without water in the scorching sun
Mile after mile
She’s fattened with babies that she’ll never know
I could go about my day
They’re denied any food because production is slow
It’s the American way.

He cries in the dark for a mother he needs
I could say he isn’t real
She’s dismembered alive when stunning doesn’t succeed
I could say she doesn’t feel
Chains hang heavy from his tender neck
I could say that I don’t care
She is desperate to move, they are desperate to peck
I could say that they aren’t there.

They are knee-deep in waste and writhe with disease
I could just close my eyes
To oozing sores and broken bones
To greed and corporate lies
They suffer in silence, their secret well kept
I could just let it be
Instead I can’t stop thinking
What if it were me?

My Eyes

There are times that it seems
My eyes are never dry
Every minute every single day
100,000 die.
For a pork chop, for a burger
Though innocent, they perish
While I mourn for beauty lost
A beauty so few cherish.

If I just closed my eyes
Life could be so good
But the darkness wouldn’t hide the truth now
Even if I could.
The truth is that compassion
Could end callousness and greed
But thousands more have just lost their lives
This moment as you read.

My eyes are far from perfect
But I will not go blind
By letting my heart harden
Or by narrowing my mind.
There is a price for seeing
Life can never be the same
But to me it’s not a choice
Because to them it’s not a game.

So once again I’ll wipe away
The tears that I have cried
And open others to the truth
For the billions that have died.