Literature and activism

| Post published on July 22, 2020
minute reading time
Literature

Using literature to make a difference

Literature has a powerful way of resonating with people. Through the words of a poem, a short story or a novel we can be challenged, see fresh perspectives on issues or have our eyes opened on matters we would never normally give a second thought.

One Viva! supporter, Ken McGibney, has been doing just that through spoken word poetry, reaching people around the country through his performances and encouraging them to rethink our relationship with animals and farming.

We were so impressed by his work that we’d like to share his poetry with you. If you know someone who might be moved by this as much as we were, please do share and spread awareness over the seemingly innocent topic of ‘milk’.

Dairy cow with baby picture

My Mother’s Milk

 

It’s the white stuff in your fridges

You add to leaf and bean

When you get up in the morning

It’s an everyday routine

 

Associated with goodness

As white as driven snow

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Cappuccinos shots and lattes

The hidden sorrows lurk

As you quickly grab a takeaway

On your journeys off to work

 

If your hearts and minds are open

The seeds of change I’ll sow

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Mid morning and you’re hungry

But the sweet treats aren’t too far

Hundreds you can choose from

Your favourite chocolate bar

 

But it was not given gladly

She did not happily bestow

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

It’s lunchtime now al fresco

In the park beneath the trees

A tasty ploughman’s sandwich

Made with butter and with cheese

 

Is it really so addictive

You never could forgo?

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Afternoon and the cream cakes

With smiles are shared around

Naughty but oh so nice of course

You cannot turn them down

 

But if you knew the pain and suffering

Would the tears start to flow?

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Home now and you’ve had your meal

The dessert that everyone savours

Ice cream is such a lovely treat

Tempting moreish flavours

 

But if the cruelty touched your hearts

Would it dim the afterglow?

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

For nine months I was growing

Inside my Mother’s womb

Then into the world I tumbled

Oblivious of my doom

 

I only tasted it for a day

Until that terrible blow

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

You drink and eat what’s meant for me

Are the pleasures that you gain

Worth it as we are torn apart

A baby’s grief and pain?

 

We cried for one another

I missed my Mother so

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Now my fate is truly sealed

My Mother’s life I’ll follow

Treated like a milk machine

So all of you can swallow

 

What was really made for me

How can you stoop so low?

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Now here’s a dirty secret

Is it something that you’ve read?

95000 male calves every year

Shot in the head

 

They are surplus to requirements

Never have the chance to grow

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

My Mother’s life is awful

Lameness and mastitis

Exhaustion zero grazing

Milk fever laminitis

 

Happy animals on dairy farms

That myth died long ago

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

 

Now I’m in my plastic hutch

You can’t see with your blind eyes

Brainwashed by an industry

So good at telling lies

 

If  you look beyond what’s pure and white

The horrors hide below

My Mother’s milk

My Mother’s milk

I wonder do you know?

About the author
Will Sorflaten
Will is one of Viva!'s campaigners. Will has been vegan for nearly ten years, and is committed to making the world a kinder, more sustainable place through veganism. Will has a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University, and works on Viva!'s campaigns, focusing in particular on expanding collaboration on university campuses. Click here for more info.

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