Assemble! #poetry #earthweal

Last night, the winds howled with an intensity
enough to make me fear
the downing of the great sycamores
standing sentinel outside my home
the fourth ‘named storm’ of the year:
do we name them in order to tame them
if we do this, is there less to fear?
We can’t put these storms back in their box
and say
‘We don’t want this climate chaos we’ve created,’
it is here to stay.

Ten years on
my eldest son will be full-grown
my youngest, in the bloom of adolescence
and what kind of future will they face on an unstable planet?
I’d like to say, at least, I did my best:
I cared about your future
I care about your future

Meanwhile, well-heeled tourists
holiday in the Maldives
before they disappear
the air fare has a higher price
in emissions which add weight
to the sinking of this ship:
I hope it’s worth the trip.

Homes and lands and livelihoods
devoured by fire, or
washed away by floods
carried off in a landslide
and furthermore, I see foam on the water everywhere:
in lake, and sea and river
half of Europe over,
do you see it, too?
This is our drinking water.

What can we do?
First is this: admit we are in crisis
bear witness, in your words
and in these pages
call out corporate greed and corruption
do not be fooled into our present-day
‘divide and conquer’ politics.

Assemble, winning hearts and minds
move forth in love
it’s all we have
I pray that it may somehow prove enough.

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Written for earthweal

This week, I am hosting the earthweal challenge, in which I invite you to take part in the Global Assembly on the climate and ecological crisis. This is a unique opportunity, and I would like as many people as possible to take part, and have their voices heard. I encourage you to head over there and take a look.

64 thoughts on “Assemble! #poetry #earthweal

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  1. You sound like you’re still in the UK. It’s just as scary this morning, here.

    On your poem, you have to do what you’re comfortable with. For me, that’s meant not flying and largely giving up meat and dairy. For others, it meand flying the Atlantic every week. I’m not even sure that what *I’m* doing is sustainable, and I’m absolutely sure that what they are doing isn’t.

    But given that I can’t change their behaviour, I’m led to just one conclusion. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

  2. I am at wits end … 📘🌏😥

    Why Wait? The Boat is Sinking Anyway

    My efforts to solve failures go amiss
    Somehow the goals keep moving in the mist
    I am misunderstanding what I need to know
    I only understand what I already know
    I am misunderstanding why they only throw me the bones
    But I understand the hurt of being hit by sharp stones

    There is a loud cheer from the crowd
    But who is listening to my muffled words now
    The silence is deafening
    Waiting times are beckoning
    My heart is sinking with every beat
    And my messages are replete

    Telling myself, the world will always be a misty haze
    And I smile to myself with teary eyes
    They are welcome emotions now-days
    Emptying my soul of sunken blasé ways

      1. It’s being published on Coffee House Writers Magazine tomorrow as my poem entry this fortnight .. haha .. so you got a sneak preview 🌏😊

  3. I too think about my daughters, how much the pandemic has robbed them of, the fears they carry that I was innocent of in my youth. And how little our leaders are doing to ensure there is still life for their own grandchildren. But we must keep pushing back. (K)

  4. I don’t know the source of this quote, Ingrid, but I think it applies to humans in this situation. “Only a dirty bird fouls its own nest.” Thank you for all your efforts to raise awareness and persuade humans to save the planet. Last night we watched a documentary about the possibility of human settlement on Saturn’s moon…semidarkness, extreme cold, rivers and lakes of methane…and the only other place in our solar system suitable for human habitation. No thanks! Let’s renovate! <3

    1. We have made such a mess of living on a perfectly habitable planet, I don’t know why anyone thinks we would do better on one that isn’t! Thank you Cheryl ❤️

  5. Wow Ingrid. I Feel you here and this is a powerful right/write and I’m voting for you if you can handle the job. I share your frustration and love of our mother earth being destroyed by those that don’t see and those that don’t want to. it’s a bloody mess!


    1. OMG: if I’m in charge, it will be anarchy 🔥😅 hey, but it couldn’t be much worse than now, right? Thanks for the vote of confidence ❤️

  6. Thank you for all your efforts, Ingrid. I know I’m not doing enough or what I should. . .but I do know it’s a problem and that too many people who do have power and money could be changing things but refuse to do so.

  7. I think Merril is right, the powers that be don’t want to make any changes that will affect their money. We have to collectively demand some changes, your poem is spot on!

  8. Thank you for this wise and profound awareness you bring. I feel deeply moved at such reminders for our responsibility towards our beautiful planet – make conscious intentional decisions, travel only when required, care for and revere our surroundings, the nature still available for us. I don’t know if I am any worthy contribution but like you say hearts and minds of Love coming together somehow should be enough.

  9. “admit we are in crisis
    bear witness, in your words
    and in these pages
    call out corporate greed and corruption
    do not be fooled into our present-day
    ‘divide and conquer’ politics.” What a powerful write, Ingrid! I completely agree with you.

  10. You have said it all, and so well. All of that is happening where I live too – where so many people live. And wild ones. Sigh. I cant believe the apathy, the torpor, the denial, the entitlement. I, too, think of your kids ten years from now, and my great grandkids. I hope they kick every older person off their political seats and take over running the world themselves. Our best hope.

  11. Hi Ingrid, your fabulous poem and Earthweal challenge are enough to make me consider breaking my blogging silence. The storms in the UK sound terrible. You express the anguish we all feel very poignantly. I’ll see what happens re contributing myself through the week. I’m still very tired and working hard so may not be able to rise to challenge.

  12. “do we name them in order to tame them.” Gosh, this is deep! Though I think this is one thing we cannot domesticate. I think we name them to keep track…
    “Assemble, winning hearts and minds
    move forth in love
    it’s all we have
    I pray that it may somehow prove enough.” I pray so too, and that people would stop counting their money and pay more attention to what goes on right under their noses.

    Incase you missed it, I added my penny’s worth. It’s a bafflement I face.
    I have not seen the foam. Gosh, that is scary. Thanks for the prompt. xoxo

    1. Thank you, Selma, for adding your heartfelt and considered voice to the challenge! I think we name them in order to try and tame them, when we should know full well this is impossible! ❤️

  13. I feel there are more voices now and this last week will have made some folk realize just how poor our defences are against severe storms. Making the link to action needed is not so easy but the loss of forest in high winds makes it even more urgent that replanting is done sensibly. Thank you for your voice.

  14. This is a brilliant poem Ingrid, and goes straight to the heart of the matter. Yes, we do name storms in order to tame them, its a human instinct. If it has a name, I know what it is and I can deal with it……

      1. You do more than most, Ingrid. The challenges are daunting, especially when we allow ourselves to believe that our individual choices won’t make a difference, but of course, we believe they will. We must believe this, or all hope is lost. I make personal choices for the greater good and my own health and well-being benefit. That feeling of “should be doing more” is familiar to me; I experienced that daily as a HS teacher. It is exhausting. Stay committed and passionate – we need people like you – but don’t let that feeling rob you of a healthy and joyful life. 💗

  15. Love, I think, is exactly what we don’t have. Too few people have any compassion or empathy with anyone/thing else. Sad but true. The only way things will change, the rot halt, is for some huge entity like China or corporate US to make money out of it. Only economic self-interest will change anything. We’re a corrupt species.

  16. It can be scary thinking about our kids’ future… worry often gets the better of me… I love the last lines Ingrid, filled with hope and truth! xoxo

  17. “the downing of the great sycamores
    standing sentinel outside my home:

    So powerful! I love the trees as sentinels–I hope they are not all gone. . . and I hope they feel your loving presence. I also love the allusion to Pandora’s Box–only it wasn’t she who opened it to let the evils escape. She and Eve share blame for things that were going to otherwise be held to patriarchy. And yes, let’s see it all, pay attention, gather, find the ways that let hope revive. I , too, am thinking of the children. And I’m re-reading Butler’s Parables–so many warned of the dystopia we are in.

    1. That’s a good point about the patriarchy: it hadn’t even occurred to me, but we can’t possibly shoulder all the blame for this man-made crisis!

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