Spring 1987

By James Turner
A silent figure shifts along

Beneath a green and leafy bank,

With in his heart a dreary song

And on his back a plastic tank,

And sprinkles with a deadly rain

The weeds that grow beside the lane;
And in the passing poison shower

Wall pennywort and lords-and-ladies,

Nettle and goosegrass, leaf and flower,

Are chemically despatched to Hades:

Tomorrow any passer-by

May see them sicken, droop and die.
In line against a granite wall

Jack-by-the-hedge stand proud and straight,

But soon they’ll twist like corkscrews, all

In silent protest at their fate.

Our passerby will ask,

“Are these Not victims of some strange disease?
What will the Judge’s verdict be?

The Best-Kept Village contest comes!

In tubs and hanging baskets, see?

Petunias and geraniums:

That’s what the Judge will judge us on.

So, work that lever, silent one.

Spring 2012

By James Turner
In this street nothing grew at all
where pavement meets with churchyard wall,
but while financial markets crash,
here weeds can make a coloured splash.
They root and photosynthesise and cling
where stone and asphalt once were king.
This gum-bespattered world has mellowed,
primrosed, oxford-ragwort-yellowed.
For, since corruption bit the banks,
no men have passed with plastic tanks
of herbicide to spray the weeds
before they bloom and shed their seeds.
More weeds means insects, means more birds—
I’d paint the future green with words!—
but when the money flows again,
they’ll soon return, those dogged men,
with tanks of poison on their backs,
to mount their chemical attacks
on cheekily invasive plants.
Those primroses won’t stand a chance.

Poem: To The Echelons Of Power

By Tom Burgess

To the echelons of power, wherever you are
It is not too late to turn, please
play a different role
Another world is waiting to manifest

Wont you pacify the grotesque hubris which has you
funding private escape pods
destined for far off planets
What do you have to offer the mystery of space?
Accept a profound disconnection with your origin and kin
The unfolding caverns of majesty require an imagination
one that goes beyond your sterile lunges for survival
You vampires of the common wealth
Do not build bunkers out of fear and petrol
Give to regeneration
Stop casting the most vulnerable as fodder
May the word collateral choke in your throats

What remains still extends grace towards you
Still the trees suffocated by indifference give oxygen
and the blessing of a raindrop on your skin is a whisper
Do not only hear a warning of scarcity and acid
In that whisper hear hope too
and turn
Join in and work for regeneration

Poem: The Tactics of Our Antics

By Liz Darcy Jones

Let us be Up Rising!

Create a mighty swell:

Our words are magnetising

they say ‘Wake up! Rebel!

We’ll get up and we’ll stand up

for those who don’t or can’t

and if you’re not for marching

then find some trees and plant!

Let us be Up Rising!

Create a mighty swell:

Our words are magnetising

they say ‘Wake up! Rebel!

we will not stoop to fight or harm

but mischief-make with glee

‘til songs and chants and mass arrests

and our solidarity

wake up those in denial

and rouse the ones who sleep

‘til all can see we’ve got to change

adapt and make it deep!

Let us be Up Rising!

Create a mighty swell:

Our words are magnetising

they say ‘Wake up! Rebel!

If we can challenge and rise up

and rock the status quo

whilst keeping our hearts open
there’s just a chance we’ll show

revolting rigid concepts

(born of power or greed)

hold far more threat than you or I:

let fierce love be our creed

Let us be Up Rising!

Create a mighty swell:

Our words are magnetising

they say ‘Wake up! Rebel!

Poem: Blameless and shameless life

By Liz Darcy Jones

This is the crux of love

crux of the symbol

heart of nature whether we like it or not

our system’s toxic but when we attribute

blame or shame to each other we contribute

to the rot

Nature’s web gives us our lead

irreverent and shameless

it holds every one blameless!

Still we do not learn and douse ourselves

and shame and blame’s dirty oil

incendiaries which then inflame

our hearts’ already desert soil

Can we appreciate our system’s toxic

and accept each one of us forgets

the one to which we’re born –

begging us to honour all its non-judgemental wild?

will I harden arteries with blame and shame

or be the bloody love which pumps

the heart of every creature, man and child?

This is the type of blood to keep the world alive

this is the blood without which we will not survive.

P.S. Some say we need shame to bring us to our knees in grief…

No. Accept its presence [beat] but make your meeting personal and brief.

Shame is unattended guilt, and guilt – painful prompt to acts of restitution –

guilt calls for gentle understanding, shifts the silt

of pain, regret, self-harm

it asks me (me, alone since others’ lives I do not own)

am I toxifying our system further with my shame and blame

or learning to play clean in nature’s game?
for nature’s game insists not one of us is left out –

and often gives the tiniest player greatest clout!

The Captain-less Raft: a poem

By Liz Darcy Jones

‘Who are your leaders?’ curious shouts
‘We don’t have leaders, so every one counts’
‘But when you cock up, who is to blame?’

‘We are all human, we don’t play the game
of naming, wronging or indulging in shame –

nor do we promise position or fame.

This means we build a raft which is flat

we dismantle hierarchy, slim the fat cat

(that 1% creaming the best out of greed):

we’re creating a platform to meet our earth’s need

Our power is love which honours the world –
so whether you’re blond, or have hair tightly curled

or feathers, or fur, or are frail and bald –
come and join in, whatever you’re called!
this is fierce love and this our power

an unstoppable force at hand ever hour…

but creating it can’t just rely on a few

because at its heart it IS me and you.’

A Poem for the Bellingham Climate Strikers

By Rob Lewis

Bellngham City Hall, 3/15/19

Where the sun meets the earth

your education begins.

Where the gold light meets the green striving

the lesson plan is all laid out.

Your teachers sing from the branches.

Stored knowledge shines in the leaves.

Study closely this living encyclopedia.

Become friends with things

and they will reward you with their meanings.

Though the adult world seems to have abandoned you

The earth is behind you every step of the way.

You have on your side all flowers and all rivers,

mountains and sand grains and the universes

inside those sand grains.

You have the oceans around you and the one inside you,

which occasionally appears on the lip of your eyelid

in the brief relief of a tear.

You didn’t come across waves of time

to fulfill the educational metrics of the state.

You are not given sight, and hearing and imagination

just to elbow past the others

in an economy that’s liquidating the world.

Out of the earth you came.

You hold in your eyes

the sun’s own candles

Don’t be afraid to burn

a few bad ideas down.

Don’t be afraid to dazzle us

with your fire.