Ver Poets for Sustainable St Albans 2016:
Saturday 26th November
WHAT WILL SURVIVE US
by Robert Peake
Bronze statues of men on horses.
Small pieces of tarmac, glittering like shells.
Skeletal towers, disconnected.
Concrete hives with glassless windows.
Yellow foam congregating in eddies.
White bridges overtaken by gulls.
On the same bush
others still red, others
plump to bursting …
In the damp ground
toadstools brown and crinkled
beg to be gathered up
by someone who knows …
From the young apple trees
windfalls starting to fester
offer a guiltless feast …
Hurry! Nature can’t wait.
Friday 25th November
ST ALBANS ABBEY
by Sylvia Banham
We see it, riding south, sun in our eyes,
familiar outline, as travellers have done
these last nine hundred years. Glimpsed
from this angle, buttressed against pale sky,
it dominates, proclaims the continuity
of more than the Roman bricks which shape its tower:
place of carved stone and crafted glass
of bells, of glowing manuscripts, of learning;
home too to Alban, patron of refugees.
Sunlight on brick and stone. Travelling towards
our present, we see it still, above the city,
unconsigned yet to oblivion, to dust.
Thursday 24th November
LAKE MURRAY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
by Gillian Knibbs
Four boys are poised, like vultures, in a tree,
stark silhouettes against the setting sun.
The branches prong like daggers, the boys seem
empty, their shapes are thin and hunched.
The smallest takes an acrobatic leap.
He shapes his plunge in the orange air;
his body is free with innocence.
He will slip, splashless, into a deep pool.
The lake that waits beneath him is a soup
of toxic mining waste; his skin will crawl
with it. It will coat him like disease.
Poem for Wednesday 23 November
APPLE TREE by Sylvia Banham
Apple tree, are you weary of
standing patiently in weathers,
under sun, under moon?
Bluetits, little acrobats,
peck at your branches,
outspread, like Buddha’s arms;
worms ferry your aged roots,
feed on your discarded leaves;
you shed ripe fruit, pragmatic.
Yet each year you astonish
with a dazzle of blossom
only feet from my kitchen sink.
Poem for Tuesday 22nd November
by Beliz McKenzie
we try to contain it;
reach for wrappers tangled in trees;
pick up papers –
ripped and mud-splattered –
from under our feet;
collect cans abandoned on benches.
we want to maintain it;
shape what we see,
search in the scarred landscape
for that gem, rare and delicate,
protect and nurture it
from growth which could destroy.
we need to sustain it;
to preserve our energy
in this overheated world;
to create a path,
bright and rainbow-lined,
leading long past our point of departure.
Poem for Monday 21st November
by Alan George
Leaves fall down with little warning;
the figs follow soon, footkill on the track.
I pick one up, its blood juice coated with grit.
During the summer the sun has flirted
through the foliage to turn green into purple.
Last night this fig fell pregnant here.
For me a reject, I toss it into the hedge,
its seed essence seeping into the soil –
By chance I may have nursed a tree’s re-birth.
Poem for Sunday 20th November
THE LAST SPROUT
by Bob Niblett
Tara, staring at her plate,
saw the world coagulate
in chilly gravy, as the fatal
tipping point was reached,
all the laws of nature breached,
because her dinner went to waste,
because it had a nasty taste.
Steeling herself unwillingly
to serve sustainability,
Tara resolved to carry out
a deed that made the angels shout
with joy. She swallowed the last sprout.
Poem for Sat 19th November
by John Mole
A texture of little purposes,
No single big thing
But an intimate criss-cross
Of planning and impulse
In search of design.
Every thread a wonder
And the whole cloth
Yet to be revealed
As no less than our life here
On this precious earth.