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,
to broken rocks and shells.
this is a globe of poisons,
close to oblivion,
by each generation,
as our sun takes her dead child
back to the beginning.
cannot stop the theft
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.
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.
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
Applauding our own survival.
My thanks , as always, to Alba Digital Media for technical assistance on this podcast.by