Tag Archives: hope

Reflections on the Apocalypse

I wrote this in 2016 but it seems just as relevant now. Given what’s been happening recently in terms of climate change awareness, I thought I’d share it. Perhaps there is some hope after all.

gold and blue earth globe apocalyptic

The apocalypse, when it came, took most people by surprise, even though it had long been predicted.

Well, people can be as selective with their science as they are with their statistics, and we all know that you can make statistics say whatever you like.

Plus the fact there were far more important things to think about, like who was to blame for the refugee crisis and what colour lipstick Kim Kardashian was wearing.

Anyway, it was quiet and gradual, the apocalypse, no catastrophic events (hurricanes and earthquakes notwithstanding), no nuclear war, no asteroid collision; an apocalypse by stealth if you will. Not enough people paid attention until it was too late.

You see, times were troubled. People didn’t know what to believe any more, so much fake news and political spin. The truth was in there somewhere, but so well buried it couldn’t dig itself out. Opinions were the new black and so opinions disguised as truth became the new truth and people believed what they chose to, what fitted with their world view. It was more comfortable that way than asking questions, looking beyond the reflection and into the room.

So, as we are what we eat, people fed on a diet of fear, anger and false assurances were more likely to worry about whether their neighbour of years had become a terrorist than the extinction of countless little known species of insect, and whether immigration was really the root of all evil rather than the loss of the planet’s lungs to palm oil and cattle feed.

People everywhere were afraid but they didn’t know what they were really afraid of. People were angry but they didn’t know exactly what they were angry about. Fear and anger do not make good bedfellows. People turned against their neighbours. Communities turned against each other. There was squabbling and unrest, laws made and pacts broken, wars fought and blame cast. And all the while the seas were rising and the weather was changing and the ecosystems were breaking down.

But those in power were rich and getting richer while the general populace was distracted, so that was OK. And those people that did notice? The ones that did protest and make a fuss, march with their banners, sign petitions and sit in fields day in, day out to protect the land? A minor irritation, nothing that a negligent media and some juicy celebrity gossip couldn’t handle.

When the last rhino died, it didn’t even make the front pages. The demise of the orangutans caused a bit more of a stir. ‘Very sad’ was the general consensus on Twitter. The tigers, well, that was a shame, magnificent animals but then again they do kill people so, you know. Maybe not such a loss…

It was the bees that finished it. There were warnings, many warnings, but they were largely ignored. When they went, along with countless other pollinators, the multi nationals finally realised that you can’t hand pollinate enough food for seven billion people and chemicals alone won’t make stuff grow. Shrinking land mass and changes in air quality didn’t help. And so the apocalypse had arrived, a slow and painful demise of humanity and most other life on the planet. There are very few of us left now, clinging on to barely nothing. Soon we’ll be like the dinosaurs, history conserved in the bones of the world.

And Earth? She’ll be all right. She’ll just start all over again…

Future Calling

Sometimes you need to listen to that quiet inner voice…

Steampunk Clock

 

 

Hey you. Yes, you. It’s your future calling.

Well, one possibility anyway. The best, I’d like to think.

I’ve seen some of the others and they’re not…

 

So anyway

I was watching you sleep earlier

Peaceful, your arm thrown over your forehead.

Now you’re eating breakfast, toast, marmalade,

Unaware that later today she’s going to call you

And offer you an opportunity, a chance

The one you secretly long for.

I so hope you take it

I know what’s most likely to happen

And it’s me.

 

But of course you don’t know that.

I have the benefit of hindsight and you, well,

You have questions and concerns

All those other possible futures crowding in with their

Doubts and insecurities, their what ifs and wherefores.

I can see an alternative now, one of many, and it’s OK

Nothing spectacular but comfortable

Safe.

If you choose that path at the fork, you’ll be all right,

Happy even.

But you’ll always wonder.

 

Yes, I know nothing’s certain, even me.

But this. This is so important.

This is your dream.

It could be your life.

Trust yourself.

It won’t all be roses, it won’t all be easy,

But I see those other futures and most of them

Are tinged with regret for the step not taken,

The no instead of yes.

Please.

It’s a leap of faith but take it.

Let yourself fly.

The Swallows

“They’re here! They’re here!”

swallows in flight

Her cry had us all running from wherever we were, the kitchen, the barn, the vegetable garden, the hen house, running, up the pocked, rough track that served as a driveway, to the wide wooden gate.

“Look, look,” she was calling, pointing upwards with both hands at once. “They’re really here. At last.”

I stopped and squinted into the sky, the brightness hurting my eyes after the dimness of the barn. Occasional ribbons of white cloud broke the aching blue, straggling across it with no urgency whatsoever.  The tops of the trees were utterly still, not a whisper of a breeze to stir them. The grass was dry and brown, the dust heavy on the track and the road beyond. It had been like this for days. As if the world was holding its breath, just waiting for them. Continue reading

False Friends and True – a poem

Hope in Scrabble lettersI wrote this poem around the end of 2015/beginning of 2016 and last Saturday night I read it out as part of the performance poetry entertainment at the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards Ceremony. I was touched and humbled when several people came up to me to say that they enjoyed it and how much they related to the emotional journey it portrays. They asked me if it was published! They also told me that they thought other people might find it helpful.

With that in mind I am putting it on here. Please feel free to share it if you want to. Wishing you all much love and light.

FALSE FRIENDS AND TRUE

 

My friend Paranoia came round the other day

I hadn’t seen him for a while; he said he’d been away.

My new friends Joy and Self-esteem don’t like him at all

They say I change when he’s about, I’m at his beck and call.

 

Anyway, he asked me if I would let him stay

He’d nowhere else to go, he said, he’d not get in my way.

I said no to start with. He said I was a grouch.

How could I just let him sleep on someone else’s couch?

 

“It’s only for a little while,” he wheedled with a grin

I felt my resolve crumble: should I let him in?

I recalled last time he said this, and I let him stay

A few days turned to months and months, he wouldn’t go away.

 

So I said no again and then he stormed off in a huff

Self-esteem was proud of me. “I knew you’d had enough.”

Then Paranoia played his trump. He sent his best friend Guilt,

To plead his case, and at her words I couldn’t help but wilt.

 

“How can you be so mean?” she asked. “He’s always stuck by you.

He’s never, ever let you down, it’s the least that you can do.”

I can deal with Paranoia, but Guilt is hard to fight.

I gave in; he came to stay, but only for the night.

 

Supposedly…

  

Because when Paranoia’s there, Guilt hangs around as well,

And she brings along Self-loathing, who is as mean as hell.

The three of them get really loud and they give me no peace.

Then I can’t hear anything else and there is no release.

 

I realise I see less and less of Joy and Self-esteem

They pop in every now and then but I hardly know they’ve been.

Paranoia said that it’s because they never really liked me

They pretended, to be kind, but they’re better off without me.

 

Self-loathing told me that I am a really crappy friend.

“You’re lucky we put up with you, don’t bother to pretend

You’re doing us a favour by giving us house room.

No one else would bother with a nasty girl like you.”

 

“Yes, you’re lucky,” Guilt agreed. Her voice held quiet danger.

“We won’t desert you, leave you alone, let you become a stranger.

Another friend is moving in, don’t bother with your protests,

Because she’s been here all along and you haven’t even noticed.”

 

It was true; when I looked, Fear was curled up in the armchair.

I knew I couldn’t shift her now that she was settled there.

I wondered how she’d got in; through the back door, I suppose.

No matter how I try it seems impossible to close.

 

So now I was just overwhelmed and there was no escape,

I could only stand and watch my world disintegrate.

The four of them joined forces to wear away at me,

And together they are surely a formidable enemy.

 

Helpless before the onslaught I retreated to my room,

Curled small beneath the bedclothes amidst the deepening gloom.

It was then I heard it; a whisper through the air

So faint and yet I hadn’t just imagined it was there.

 

I couldn’t help but follow the almost silent call

It made me walk across the room to the mirror on the wall.

It was then that I saw Hope beside me standing strong.

I’d been so blind but now I knew he’d been there all along.

 

Somehow I’d forgotten Hope but he didn’t seem to mind.

He very gently took my hand, his touch so warm and kind.

Hope had not forsaken me but he has a quiet voice

And I just had not heard it over all the other noise.

 

I realised I felt calmer, more than I had in days

I knew that Hope would help me in so many different ways.

“We’re still here,” he told me, “Joy, Self-esteem and I.

But it’s hard to reach you when you’re with those other guys.”

 

“I’m sorry,” I said sadly, as I began to weep

“But I just don’t know what to do, I’m in far too deep.”

“You can let us help you to find your strength again.”

Hope was reassuring; I knew he saw my pain.

 

I let him lead me down the stairs and through the noisy four,

They didn’t like that he was there; I tailed him to the door.

“Open it,” he told me, “I’ve got you a surprise.”

Joy and Self-esteem were waiting on the other side.

 

“It’s really good to see you.” Words came with an embrace.

“Now let’s get this lot sorted out, and give you back your space.”

Paranoia grumbled as he left, Self-loathing raged and ranted,

Fear screamed and whimpered as she was forcibly decanted.

 

Guilt was the hardest one to shift; she went eventually.

“OK, I’m off for now,” she smirked, “but look, I’ve kept your key.”

Self-esteem just laughed at her. “The locks will all be changed.

She has true friends around her now, and you should be ashamed.”

 

Guilt was dawdling on the path; Hope turned me to the room

To Joy and Trust and Happiness and Love and Light and Truth.

Self-esteem brought Confidence, quiet and assured

And Gratitude is also here, helping me applaud.

 

So next time Paranoia knocks, I’ll have the strength to fight.

Next time I will be saying no. I’m claiming back my life.