090 Environment & Covid19 & Poetry

Jun 9, 2020 by

090 Environment & Covid19 & Poetry

Covid19 has been a nightmare for all populations. Paradoxically, the planet and the environment have benefited.

Just before lockdown, I was invited with a group of poets in Bath to respond to a short but powerful video produced by two remarkable women by writing and reading poems reflecting their lament on environmental destruction.

Rise: From one island to another is their work. One is from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific and the other is from Greenland.  They are Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna

https://350.org/rise-from-one-island-to-another/ is the link.

In response we produced short poems each and are posting on You Tube soon.

For now, these are the ones I read on today’s podcast.

All land is hallowed

with earth baptised by some god

and seas swum in by angels.

yet we walk in sadness,

watching sisters in two oceans

paint our legacy

in words of despair.

we, the infant stewards,

young with no control,

just blind

to broken rocks and shells.

this is a globe of poisons,

close to oblivion,

wounded

by each  generation,

as our sun takes her dead child

back to the beginning.

 

Pacific child

cannot stop the theft

alone.

Some sand can be saved

but not all.

the woman of the sand

sings so sweetly

of love and protection,

speaks a verse

in praise of perfection,

with a golden invitation

to the land of ice

where a soul sister cries

with every melting day.

no faith

a heart left broken

and land has gone

where mammoths stood.

 

I also read this poem I wrote reflecting the historical  savaging of local land over 2000 years

 

THE  CHARTERHOUSE MINES.

Blood washed and slate, the sky presided

over one hour’s walk to mark the mines.

the mist formed veils in fading light

as shadows slid from shafts

and a banshee of an owl claimed the night.

 

long headed shepherds, moor and marsh dreamers,

prehistoric miners of Iberian descent

all colonise the hills and form

a Charterhouse of painted caves and white skulls

then the mist moves as a turning worm.

 

hard and straight the lines of Rome converge

with convicts for the mining and theatres for the troops

smells of alchemy, arrogance and blood

seep through villas whose owners rattle dice cups

on mosaics where the wolf packs stood.

 

the bleakest times of iron and mud soaked wars

let a merchant church command the shafts.

between the rage of Forresters, the Royal sword

and the silver greed of Bishops,

the land wept lead without a word.

 

near Cheddar streams as red as Waterloo soldiers

boys curled up and faded with seven years of life.

in the swamp smell tunnels, through gruffy ground,

lamps in a thousand tents vanished in the wind

and left the owl, in the mist, the only sound.

 

all quiet now on the desolate hill. no noise

and silent graves, washed away with slurry

but their spirits pray in the heather bed,

near the reeds where snipe prepare for sleep

and the grassland as the rabbits lick the lead.

 

and finally a short poem from the UK  about Covid19 by Georgina Shuckburgh  a west country poet.

 

Corona

I remember when Corona

Was a fizzy red drink,

Long before we were

Keyed by Lockdown.

Men with yellow floppy hair

Lead us who knows where

And we resort to Zoom,

Our new neighbourhood.

The Queen comes out of hibernation

To evoke another Dunkirk

And ask us to stay at home,

Saving the odd trip to the supermarket,

Where staff with huge lollipops

In strict two metre exclusion zones,

March the aisles.

And march we still in daily exercise

To the beat of virus doom.

Friends remark on guilty secrets

Of peace and quiet and bird song

Of books read and puzzles solved.

The domestic violence of our precious lives

Wielded not at each other

But at another clod of earth.

We few, we precious few,

Give some thought to

Those that risk their lives

Whilst others fight for their’s

And each Thursday proffer claps

In exchange,

Applauding our own survival.

 

 

My thanks , as always, to Alba Digital Media for technical assistance on this podcast.

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