Draining the Swamp #poetry #earthweal

At the turn of the last century
the salt pans surrounding the island of Koper
were drained.

This allowed for the expansion of the city
the expansion of industry and, more recently
many new shopping malls.

Koper has a historic Venetian old town centre
some pleasant parks
and many ugly cathedrals of commercialism
around the outskirts.

From some unnamed industrial source,
pollutants are sluiced into the sea
turning it orange.

But in spite of all of this,
nature still has its place:
there’s a wetland sanctuary in the belt of drained-swamp
around the city.
Egrets mate and swallows migrate to meet here.

In the sewers, water voles have found a
comfortable dwelling place.
They like to mark their territory with a shit-filled lake
not unlike politicians.

All is not lost
but to make progress
we need to get our shit together:
brown into green needs to happen.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

Written for earthweal

For this week’s earthweal challenge, Brendan has asked us to ‘celebrate Earth Day (22 April) with local affirmations of restoring our Earth.

I’ll try to write a specific poem for earth day. I did want to be positive in writing this, as Brendan so rightly points out in his essay, defeatism is one of the best weapons of climate-destroyers:

‘Inactivists know that if people believe there is nothing you can do, they are led down a path of disengagement. They unwittingly do the bidding of fossil fuel interests by giving up.’

I have certainly not given up, but I am still very upset about the orange algal blooms I witnessed in the Adriatic sea last week. Slovenia is a country with some great green credentials: a native population of both wolves and bears, over 60% forest cover, surviving virgin woodlands, and many designated nature reserves, such as Koper’s wetland sanctuary. But next door to it you find huge concrete car parks and a ridiculous amount of shopping malls. It’s very easy to see the dividing line between the ‘cares’ and the ‘care nots.’

I was pleased to see the water voles had found a home in the sewer pipes near the Bonifika arena, although it’s true they have a strange way of marking their territory:

‘Adult water voles each have their own territories, which they mark with fecal latrines located either near the nest, burrow and favoured water’s edge platforms where voles leave or enter the water.’ (source: Wikipedia.)

29 thoughts on “Draining the Swamp #poetry #earthweal

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  1. Good work Ingrid. Istria is a delightful place, I was blessed to spend some time in Rovijn in 2019. I too like the ending, I see an implied hope in that composting, there certainly enough manure to be had! Lol

  2. I too tried to be positive, Ingrid, and I kind of had your ‘orange blooms’ in my mind as well as the article I read in Saturday’s Times. I’read your lines about Koper with interest – it’s a city I am not familiar with. It’s heartening to know that other countries care about their environment and the animals that live in it. I couldn’t suppress a chuckle at the lines:
    ‘In the sewers, water voles have found a
    comfortable dwelling place.
    They like to mark their territory with a shit-filled lake
    not unlike politicians.’

  3. Water voles are definitely preferable to some of the politicians we have here in the U.S.–and I’m certain they’d be more useful.

    I had the date of Earth Day wrong in my mind, because events here seemed to be planned for Saturday, the 24th. (Not that it really matters.)

    1. Perhaps they are just picking the nearest weekend date? I agree about the water voles being preferable to a lot of politicians!

  4. Ingrid, The water vole is a creature I am unfamiliar with, but I am familiar with corrupt politicians! <3 We have examples of them worldwide! Thank you for speaking out about pollution and wildlife habitat issues. We seem to have those worldwide too. A very meaningful poem. 🙂

  5. I had to smile at the voles’ shit deposits “much like politicians.” It comforts me greatly that, despite all our human-made aggressions against nature, creatures still manage to continue their lives, and life adapts and continues on. Earth is very resilient.

  6. Re: the “drain the swamp” allusion …

    A long, revelatory review (by Geoff Olson, for Common Ground magazine, 01/10/2018) of the book ‘The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy’ notes that the book’s author describes big oil CEOs and lobbyists in the U.S. as being a very large part of the American Deep State. Therefore, it would be a large part of the national Capitol’s ‘swamp’ that Trump and his fans claim has corrupted DC and, ergo, had been (and again will be, if he’s re-elected) trying to dislodge his morally/ethically pristine presidency. So, considering the Trump administration’s kowtowing to big fossil fuel (mostly via the loosening of environmental protections), he, ironically, actually should be content with wallowing in it—far from genuinely wishing to “drain the swamp,” as he and his fans claim(ed).

    If president Biden’s current climate-change-concerned behavior continues long after he’s gone, big oil in the U.S. may lose its ‘Deep State’ clout. But I’m definitely not holding my breath for such a permanently progressive long-term outcome.

    If interested, the book review can be found at: https://commonground.ca/a-deep-state-of-confusion/

  7. As someone pointed out recently, instead of repairing roads, we should let a lot of them crumble and look for improved public transportation to replace all the cars and parking lots. But it’s good that at least sanctuaries have been saved where you live. Not enough, but a start. (K)

    1. That’s a very good point. There’s virtually no notion of public transport where we are unfortunately, but some good cycle routes at least.

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