Prophecy of the Ants


it wont be long now it wont be long
man is making deserts of the earth
it wont be long now
before man will have used it up
so that nothing but ants  
and centipedes and scorpions
can find a living on it
man has oppressed us for a million years
but he goes on steadily
cutting the ground from under
his own feet making deserts deserts deserts
what man calls civilization
always results in deserts
man is never on the square
he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth 
each generation wastes a little more of the future

america was once a paradise
of timberland and stream

but it is dying because of the greed
and money lust of a thousand little kings
who slashed the timber all to hell
and would not be controlled
and changed the climate
and stole the rainfall from posterity
and it wont be long now
it wont be long
till everything is desert
from the alleghenies to the rockies

the deserts are coming, the deserts are spreading
the springs and streams are drying up

one day the mississippi itself
will be a bed of sand
ants and scorpions and centipedes
shall inherit the earth
men talk of money and industry
of hard times and recoveries
of finance and economics

but the ants wait and the scorpions wait
for while men talk they are making deserts
getting the world ready for the conquering ant
drought and erosion and desert
because men cannot learn

rainfall passing off in flood and freshet
and carrying good soil with it
because there are no longer forests
to withhold the water in the
billion reticulations of the roots
it wont be long now it won’t be long
till earth is barren as the moon
and sapless as a mumbled bone.

-Don Marquis, 1918