The Once-ler

By: Monica Wilcox

At the end of the block
where the Cinema lights glow
and the wind smells greasy and gassy when it blows
and no birds dare to fly excepting old crows…
is the Street of the Mighty Once-ler.
And deep behind the bullet proof glass, some people say,
that’s where I’ll find him on this particular day.

“What is this movie, The Lorax?
And what about that awful trailer?
And why was it rewritten and edited this way?
Where is the Doctor’s tale of environmental failure?
Why couldn’t you produce THAT in this age and day?

He’ll tell me, perhaps…
but only if I’m willing to pay.

At the bottom, where the counter meets glass
he opens a half circle tin bowl
and I have to toss in plastic cards
and my Wall Street options in coal
and my great-great-great-great-
grandfather’s gold.

Then he tells me, “I’ll call you on my Whisper-me-cell
’cause secrets like these we don’t like to tell.”

“Now I will explain,” he says, with his lips sounding Botox puffed,
“how The Lorax got chopped and romantically fluffed…

It all started way back in a Texas oil field.
Then came central heating, refrigerators and auto-mobiles.
This Earthy McSpace is all caught up in an energy race.
Consuming and consuming at a fast and terrible pace.”

“Mister!” I said with a hay fever sneeze.
“The Truffulas may be gone but there are other trees.
I speak for the greenies, because we are a bit confused.
And I’m asking you, sir, with a deeply hurt heart
what’s this THING you’ve done to Dr. Seuss’s art?”

“Look, lady,” the Once-ler shot. “There’s no cause for alarm.
I’m a business man, making twelve bucks a lot. There’s no harm.
This movie is about ‘a world of action, danger and romance and less hair.’
Watching over our environment? No one wants Hollywood to go there.
That’s recycling containers. That’s ingesting less meat, which would trigger an astronomical economic cutback.
Who wants to pay big money to listen to that?”

So then I said, “Sir. You are crazy with greed.
There is no one on earth who will watch this falsified read.”

But then I was pushed slightly aside by a couple dressed beyond their needs.
And what should be around the woman’s throat? OMG is that a vintage Thneed?
They bought tickets for The Lorax, that “cute little cartoon romance.”
They bought the massage seats, popcorn, drinks, candy, hotdogs and 100 tickets on a lotto chance.

The Once-ler laughed at me, “You poor stupid granola nut!
I learned long ago in the Truffala shade; business is business.
And business must grow, until it can not.
And then you abandon your factory to manufacture the next great gizmo-bot.”
We had to grow Dr. Seuss’ plot bigger. So bigger it got.
We biggered the romance. We biggered the adventure scenes.
We biggered the characters. We biggered the action figures.
And we biggered our money, which our industry so desperately needs.”

And so I got mad.
I got terribly mad.
“Now listen here, Pop! I’m tired of you underestimating and demeaning the movie going masses.
You’re treating us like naďve, greedy baba-valooka asses.
I speak for the greenies, the granolas, the tree huggers and the environmental master
when I say we don’t want the rest of our trees to go the way of your Truffula disaster.
We’re partial to our Brown Bar-ba-loots, our Humming-Fish and the Swomee-Swans’ song.
So don’t take our opportunity to honor and respect the Great Mother
and dirty it by lining the pockets of your business brother.
If Seuss’ environmental message makes you a few million less,
so be it.
But if it triggers the question, starts a discussion and fuels consciousness,
then that, Mighty Once-ler, would be your greatest, most superbular, lifetime success.”

Monica Wilcox



Kiana S.
Kiana S5 years ago

I haven't seen the trailer for the Lorax. I think I'll have to go look. I was excited when I found out it was being made into a film, but it sounds like it isn't worth my while :( Maybe it's doing well because people like us, who read it and love it, either want to give it a chance or didn't see the trailer?

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

Love it, thanks.

Bob P.

Thanks for sharing Monica

Monica Wilcox
Monica Wilcox5 years ago

Must give credit where it is due!! This amazing image is called Dancing Trees by Oliver Wong. Would love to have this one on my wall!!!

Monica Wilcox
Monica Wilcox5 years ago

Glad to see SO many Lorax fans speaking up and taking a stand. Obviously I was pretty shocked the first time I saw the movie trailer since there was nothing of the original story in it. Unfortunately, the movie has done very well over the last two weeks which indicates that Hollywood is correct in assuming a "green" movie will not sell on it's own merit. This is the real issue I'm trying to tackle; how do we take the politics out of "living green" so we can enjoy and celebrate it as a moral truth? Still working on that one.

Keep on reading The Lorax to the children in your life!! Monica

Myriam G.
Myriam G5 years ago

I'm glad some people are making sure Dr Seuss' message is not lost!
Wonderful poetry, Monica, and Evelyn and Ernie! Poetry like that will brings Hollywood down, and my spirits up!

Chad A.
Chad Anderson5 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Jennifer E.
Jennifer E5 years ago

I was thrilled when I heard they were making the Lorax into a movie! I thought it would bring this terrific story to a new generation. I am horrifed by all the comments! I have not seen it so didn't know the original had been so corrupted. What a shame that no-one seems prepared to take an original good story and just make it in a different format. I have seen a number of films of fantastic books, and they rarely measure up to the book. Now, I don't bother going to see them, especially Disney versions of anything. I don't know who put the Lorax together, but I certainly will NOT be going to see it, after reading these sad critiques of one of my favourite Seuss books. I will buy the book for my grandson, and tell his parents to keep him away from the film.

Loved the poems, too! Thank you Monica, Ernie M and Evelyn M

Evelyn M.
Evelyn M5 years ago

My son wrote this in high school, about 1975

The sun now is rising, the land washed in gold
Terra is smiling, her outlook is bold.
Life is in plenty and waters are sweet
Land here is fertile and all here may eat.

Now shadows are shortest,m a new voice is heard
An era a'borning and man gives it word
See towers erected, watch secrets explored
Thinking science sufficient, now nature ignored

And now in the twilight the stars do not shine
As the once roaring planet goes out with a whine
The heavens bow sadly to an era now past
For little blue Terra has smiled her last.

I thought this so lovely and prophetic I did it in cross-stitch.