By Sister Janet M. Peterworth, OSU

Mountains moved–slashed, gashed.

Valleys smoothed–smashed, smothered.

O mountains, I have seen water as blood

Pouring from your side,

And mud like pus oozing from your wounds.

O valleys, I have felt you shift

Under your heavy load

And heard you gasp and groan as though for life.

It is Progress, they prate; Progress is the name.

It opens the way in for golden arches, neon bells

Red K’s, white W’s, and other toxic waste.

It opens the way out for desperate men, lonely women,

Expectant youths all seeking fortunes in the lure of city lights.

O mountains, speak! What say you of this Progress?

O valleys, whisper! What say you of this exchange?

Speak! I want to hear.

Whisper! I need to listen.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

—Isaiah 35:7-10