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Betty Ann Damms

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Disappearing Floridian
by Betty Ann Damms

Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Betty Ann Damms
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           >> View all 21

we are losing what's really important under the guise of "progress".

Not much of the
“Real” Florida left.
Walt began the push
To make the Sunshine State
The Capitol of
No longer happy with
Natural wonders,
Tourists visit
Usurped orange groves and
Slashed and burned;
Bare sand awaiting
Blacktop to placate snowbirds
With no comprehension
Of what Florida really is.
“Gators” rule the turf
While indigenous creatures
Make a last stand;
Endangered birds
Reduced to seeking sustenance
Along roadsides
Buzzing with traffic
That endangers their
Very existence.
RVs hurrying to Busch Gardens
Bypass abandoned farm stands;
Faded signs advertising
Fresh Strawberries,
Oranges and onions.
A lone tree the only shade
In a wide field;
A spindly pine under which
Huddles a herd of longhorns.
A farmer in a field of sand;
Makeshift pig pen
Reminiscent of
Chet McDowell’s* handiwork;
Squalor alongside
Home Depot and Wal-Mart.
Luxury estates
Usurp affordable homes
And trailer parks,
Gated communities with
Automatic sprinkler systems
To build rich mans’ lawns
Above Florida’s
Shifting sands.
Contractors building houses
So close
You can hear the flush.
Retirement homes for the wealthy
Push out poor old farmers
With no place to go but
Nursing homes.
No more quiet communication
On porches under
Ancient oaks dripping with
Spanish moss.
Train tracks alongside
Four-lane highways;
Rusty Southern Pacific cars
Lined up
Along weed-infested rails.
A way of life
Replaced by
Cell phones and
Hurry up attitudes;
Race north
To make money to
Visit Mickey again.

*An old man from my childhood who built pigpens out of leftover wood to hold huge hogs.

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Reviewed by Mitzi Jackson 1/12/2007
isn't it sad all in the name of progress
like you said
when will we learn!?!

excellent share hope people take heed
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/10/2007
And not just the animals, the citizens of Florida are being overrun by Snowbirds from the Northern climes.........and from the south, the's rare to find a native Floridian anymore. I have an Aunt in Bradington (formerly a Buckeye--see?). Sad, Texas is being overrun, too.........I moved here 24 years ago, but consider myself (mostly) a Texan. A powerfully poignant piece, well written.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Paul Berube 1/10/2007

This is happening all over the country and not just Florida. A sad and hurried pace. I see forest animals foraging in the suburbs having been force from their natural habits by man's progress. Super Highways built over quaint country roads making long enjoyable Sunday drives a nightmare. Gigantic Supermarket and Retail Chains replacing our nostagic Mom and Pop Variety Stores. When will it all end ? Progression will eventually kill us. Love the write and your sentiments are right on.

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