Cause & Effect

- Posted by QEW Staff in 2022April-May-JuneArt & PoetryBeFriending CreationNumber 2Volume 35,  | 1 min read
City photo by Lerone Pieters-Unsplash

By Christopher Haines.

Rhyme and Reason

There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children.
She didn’t know what to do.
But try as she would
she could never detect
which was the cause
and which the effect.

– Piet Hein, Grooks 2:30*

There was a green planet, excessively warm.
With cries blaming Greenhouse— spreading Alarm!
These gases trap heat, like the lid on a pot.
For a planet not changing, more greenhouse means hot!

But the sun warms the surface, and all that is near,
and that heat from the planet warms the atmosphere.
It’s nature’s destruction creating our fate so dire.
Still concerned for the lid, we must turn down the fire.


Non-living surfaces convert sunshine to heat,
a fact you know well if you walk in bare feet.
From millions of acres of dirt lying bare,
to deserts and parking lots; walk there if you dare.


When the coolth of the forests yields to more paving,
more buildings and highways leave temperatures raving.
Less cooling occurs with reduced transpiration,
and forests and meadows fall to aridification.


With eight billion people toing and froing,
and city and suburb construction ongoing,
and habitat loss and deforestation not slowing,
the heat from the planet is constantly growing.

And that toing and froing is enabled with heat,
for a convenience of transport that can hardly be beat.
But all that convenience obscures the solution.
We must not forget the thermal pollution.

These planetary changes should give us all pause,
for heat generation is truly the cause.
Yet like the old women, we do not detect,
which is the cause, and which the effect.

* Hein, P, (1969) Grooks 2. Garden City, N.J. Doubleday & Co.

Christopher Haines is a NCARB-certified architect and an educator working to save the planet from human folly, and serving as the New England Yearly Meeting representative to QEW.