We are children
living on green-sheet covered bedrock
a patchwork blanket thrown around us
warm in winter, a comfort in summer
part moth-eaten, part burned by fire
loved and grown out of.
We stick fingers in ears and chant:
“it’s not happening, it’s all ok”
repeat until no other thought exists
warm air pushed out and upwards
displaced by cold denial
truth occluded as two fronts meet.
We are tenants become pigs
forgetting we’re enclosed
we’ve huffed and we’ve puffed
half-knocked this wall down
seen the wolf through the cracks
and covered our eyes.
We are angry
attacking the cosmic guardian
standing sentinel in the darkness
armour radiant in sunlight
reflecting the glow of our star;
he weakens and falls to his knees.
We are exposed
our loose-fitting skin shifting over old bones
epidermis barely regulating temperature
ultraviolet waves washing up against diminishing resistance
our barrier and protection from pathogenic light
The child sleeps
wrapped in a fleece-lined embrace
her face peaceful
breathing settled and calm
nestled in clean cotton sheets
tucked in and warm.
Yellow light softly dawns
creeping into the room
gentle and sweet
brightening the walls
she soon opens her eyes
blinks at the world.
Her fist opens and closes
fingers grasping at nothing;
she holds everything in her palm.
He knows which card you picked
the number you’re thinking of
where the rabbits are
how to say the secret words
make the hidden signs
and there’s nothing up his sleeves.
He’s got your watch and wallet
pocketed your front door keys
figured out your PIN number
he’s sawn your wife in half
made off with your kids
and he’s slowly disappearing.
Not with a bang and flash of light
the sudden billowing of smoke
but rather he’s become hard to focus on
your eyes cannot seem to take him in
he slips in and out of conscious thought
becomes translucent in your memories.
Though you can’t put your finger on it
something about you has been lost
borders drawn around an absence
but you do not know what has gone missing
your experience somehow shaded
you feel different now – because you are.
Climate change is already having a significant impact on the planet, and its effects will continue to grow. In these poems I wanted to reflect the substantial disruption and damage already occurring, in the structure and form of the text. Click on the links above to view the poems.
Free Word have more information about the background and aims of the commission on their website.
– Dan Simpson, December 2014