Letter to the ice sheets

We thought you were death –
a sterile sheet covering
a corpse. I mean, men went to you
to die, monsters leaping
from floe to floe, men failing,
flailing, calling themselves heroes.

Now we know, you are the hero –
your embrace contains
the oceans, your cold arms
brace against the deluge –
you are not separate, you are part
of the great pattern –

and we are grubby idiots,
poking our sticks at things
that we don’t understand,
tearing and breaking. We are
shattering the web, stuffing
shreds of foolishness
into our gaping pockets –

we watch the polar bear
swimming towards the ice –
swimming and swimming.
Oh, we say, oh, it’s too much –
too sad.
We turn our backs –
eat one more cake,
drink one more can,
buy one more t-shirt.

We leave the room,
leave on the lights

A poem for Sherry at earthweal.


Protest song

The fat god squats
in the market-place
shitting out lies

and we feed him

more he says,

and we feed him

we feed him our hours

more he says

we feed him our sleep
we feed him our dreams
we feed him the swift-footed moments
of our children’s games

we feed him our children


we feed him meadows
bright with flowers
we feed him mountains
we feed him the river
shimmering with life
we feed him the sky


we feed him our souls
we feed him the elephant
the tiger the rhino
we feed him the eagle
the butterfly the bee
we feed him the sweet time
of holding a new-born
we feed him scurrying mice
we feed him the great singing whale
we feed him the ocean
we feed him the scent of bluebells
we feed him the taste of apples
tart in the mouth
we feed him our old ones


we feed
we feed

and the lie he tells us
is that he is real
and we swallow it
in our hunger
to feed

but we are still empty

more we say



Sherry is manning (womanning?) the barricades at Earthweal this week, and asking for our poems of protest. I’m not even sure what I’m protesting against here – it’s too big. I started off with small specifics, but at the end of the day it’s the way the economy trumps people in too many western societies, and the way we have got caught up in this endless treadmill of consumerist crap to feed that economy. Covid-19 has thrown a lot of things into¬† very sharp relief for me. I won’t go into it here, but I’m interested to see what’s bubbling under.