I don’t much like ‘religion’; even a hint, a smidgeon,
Don’t push it down my throat, it really gets my goat!
I can cope with Christmas and Easter, twice a year from the religion barista.
I like Jesus’ birthday – much more, I say “no way”,
The idea he rose from the dead? Messes with my head.
I just don’t entirely rate this extraordinary belief, even if the best I’ve got is ‘turn over a new leaf’.
So it’s maybe not surprising that after Jesus’ rising, the next event to follow feels a bit hard to swallow,
And before you do a search, I’ll tell you: birthday of the church.
Pentecost, Holy Spirit, strong wind and flame – well it’s not tame,
Hurricane and tongues of fire. Hmm, could that change the game?
Can I really assume it’s a tale of magic – mind over matter, Derren Brown… Be tragic!
So is it wise to embrace the surprise, this something wild, untamed?
Come fresh just like a child? I know things won’t just stay the same.
Mountainous energy in each monstrous wave, who from your grasp will the stricken surfer save?
A full seven tenths of the planet you cloak, the oxygen you breathe helps us not to choke,
Habitat of dolphins, hunting ground of whales, corridor for tankers, playground of sails,
In your inky depths, nightmare denizens lurk, where no sun can reach, self-lighting will work.
Your depths teem with sharks, and lobsters and tuna – I’d think of more creatures if I’d started this sooner,
We bury toes in the sand and paddle in your surf, you have many a great work of art brought to birth,
Turner – inspired by your tempestuous ways, and that brick ‘Moby Dick’ kept me happy for days.
The moon’s pull on you round the spinning earth glides, orchestrates intricate patterns of tides,
And though I live far from your surf-lapping shores, I connect to the urge to protect what is yours,
Determined to help solve a problem as drastic, as the rate that we clog your fine lungs with plastic.
Wide and immense, long and deep your embrace;
No wonder, like thunder, you show God’s love and face.
Eighteen? I was at uni, teeing up for a degree.
Psychologically at sea. Nervous creature. Did fun feature?
Sometimes. And over-analysis. And fighting paralysis…
But not literally at sea, wading through mud, clinging to a bud.
What good there a ‘follow your dream’ line? Loses shine
Against machine gun mayhem and onset of oblivion.
Shivering with mates. No longer safe civilian.
Options narrowed to frantic fight – or frantic flight.
Extreme straits alchemised the best in those boys, No distractions or toys.
2019: we hang on words from the queen,
Our lives not so lean, we’re more prone to preen,
Yet we too face foes, more shapeless, less clear,
But worth we took a look underneath the veneer,
Indifference, complacency. Compassion? Still a vacancy,
In face of conflict and pain, climate crisis, grim train
Of events and laments that won’t disappear.
So why don’t I fight, while alive, while I’m here,
Take inspiration from the ‘no to self’ vocation,
Of Christ on the cross, of self-sacrifice the boss.
Plunge into the fray. And hold tight the sorrow.
Just as for our tomorrow – they gave their today.
I wonder, is there a solution – to toxic air pollution?
What’s your take, does it faze you, shock or amaze you?
Fond illusions shatter? – to ponder particulate matter?
These gases afflict masses, in town and city – more’s the pity.
Dioxides – carbon, sulphur, bit by bit our clean air pilpher,
It’s deadly, this medley of pollutants we inhale,
Nine tenths of us breathe bad air – definite fail.
I feel aversion. We need a conversion, in our thinking,
Not blinking. A different kind of travel – to see the toxic knot unravel.
Train and bike and walking, smell the flowers and get talking
To other commuters, fellow non-polluters.
And morning, noon and night, think about energy and light,
Ask yourself this hour, “Am I wise with heat and power?”,
Cos craving oil and coal drives a whopping hole
In all our green ambitions – those profligate emissions.
We’ve each got a stake, so don’t quake, but start to care,
For the earth, the seas, and clean air.
If it seems remote – think of your own lungs and throat,
Fossil fuels belong in the ground – life’s better then all round.
Let’s love the power supplied by sun and wind and tide,
Change the rule book, on which our power is based,
Wake up. Protect and save. Stop our scandalous waste.
(For World Environment Day 5th June and Clean Air Day 20th June)