In the eye of the storm

In the earthweal challenge, Ingrid asks us to take stock of the global crisis, how it affects us and what we can do about it. The big changes, I believe, are totally out of our hands. Money and the making of money will decide the future of the planet, not poets or people who care. But there are lots of things that all people who care should be doing, and if they do, they will make a difference, despite the greed and indifference of the world’s billionaires.

Stop eating meat and dairy produce,
stop using gas-guzzling cars,
stop using planes and going to far-away countries to despoil them,
don’t even think about cruises,
stay at home, let your garden (if you have one) run wild,
support actions to conserve wild places and wildlife,
and help the poorest countries develop in a caring, non-capitalist way,
do just a little of what your heart and conscience tells you is right.

I don’t want to preach, and if I already do most of these things, you could say it’s because I don’t have the choice. But it’s not going to be a choice for any of us soon.

In the eye of the storm

In the eye of the storm,
this landscape of green fields, meadows and woodland,
the peace is uneasy.

Death stalks, spews from the barrel of guns,
glue on branches, traps, dogs,
the cruel death by extraction.

Every leaf trembles in the poisonous wind,
the tremble of hares without a hedge,
yet here is peace, picture postcard peace.

No lark disturbs the silence,
no herds of deer mar the stillness of the hills,
no cattle graze, no pigs rootle.

Indoors all, in bunkers
stacked high, their babies stolen.
But there is peace and quiet,

and the people watch their TVs in peace
and stack their barbecues and freezers high
with cruel meat,

dream of their tour, cruise,
beach-lazy, sun-soaking,
in well-deserved peace,

in the eye of the storm.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

24 thoughts on “In the eye of the storm”

    1. If everybody does something, we’ll make a difference, though not as much as if some huge multinational decides they can make more money by preserving the planet than by trashing it.

      1. I’ve often thought that myself. If you have so much more than anyone needs, why not spend it helping those who don’t have enough, or trying to actually save the planet?

  1. You are so right it wont be a choice for long………I love all of your suggestions……..we do what we can, where we are. Your poem totally nails the oblivious way so many are living, in the midst of disintegration.

    1. I’m glad you think so, Sherry (I rather suspected you would). The ‘right’ of one privileged group to over consume is depriving the rest of the world of the ‘right’ to live decently. We all know whose rights take precedence.

  2. Well said, Jane: many of us live in fantasy land while sprouting nonsense about being ‘sustainable’ (a meaningless word that I hate!) Nobody wants to change the way they live or make sacrifices. I walk a lot, and it’s easy for me to avoid flying, as I hate it. Such is my meagre contribution. But I do believe as consumers, we can vote with our feet and send a message to the big corporations that we do not want what they are selling.

    1. Yes, you’re right. If we stopped buying all the useless gadgetry that fills the shops, the Chinese would would stop making it. There’s not an awful lot that I feel I need: fridge, cooker, washing machine, computer and basic telephone. All the rest, the TVs home cinemas, food processors, bread-making machines, driers, pulpers, microwaves etc etc I have never had and don’t feel deprived because of it.

      We lived in the centre of a city and never had a family holiday which was tough with five kids, but we couldn’t afford it. I get angry when I hear people bleating about how they desperately need a holiday because it’s almost twelve months since they had one. The last time husband and I had a holiday was before we were even married, 1988.

      We weren’t born to consume and keep the great wheels of Chinese industry rolling, or the sweat shops in south Asia. We don’t need garden furniture that means destroying the Amazonian forest, and we don’t need half the globe given over to producing animal fodder so we can have our barbarically produced steak and lamb. But that, of course is only my opinion. Others will say, many of the things on my list are necessities.

    1. It helps, but it’s preaching to the converted, and to people who read poetry. Most people need something concrete, not abstractions and pious words. We’ve become cynical about pious words. We want actions.

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