This beautiful, mysterious poem takes you on a journey from a visceral personal experience to a shared global sense of despair.
Burning the leftmost seam of my jeans.
It escapes my pocket, crawls across my skin,
vine-like tentacles encroaching by any means
to hijack the conscious pathways of my mind.
It takes and takes,
never gives refuge from its tethered hold
and, with leaves as large as hands,
it emerges, emerald green, to fold
around my shin, grappling desperately for escape.
On my left, a strange new biome.
Ice – though it burns – finger-paints crystallised art,
an intricacy of pathways shifting, scrutinising, seizing
my eyes, my lungs, my heart.
Suddenly I cannot, I can’t, I can’t! breathe in this biting cold.
A polar breath escapes on a whisper.
A distress call, perhaps a plea?
What can I do? I can’t help,
not here, not now, not me.
Why won’t they let us help?
From my breast pocket,
overflowing, coarse sand pours.
Unwavering, unrelenting, grainy inundation.
Like rain pattering my boots, liquified by leather contours,
it pools about my feet, crunches with each step.
There is a pin-prick,
undetected, unexpected, the revenge of a ghost,
A cactus’ ghost, I think wryly,
the thing that I would fear the most; almost,
if it weren’t for this growing force of destruction.
this canopy of nothingness is a veil
to the blistering sunlight that is now but a memory,
for the inevitability of death prevails,
and it shall be here soon.
We cannot escape, not on foot,
not by roads, not with your rescuer rockets.
We want to go out there, to do something,
but can’t with the sagging weight of the planet in our pockets,
not with this crumbling world upon our shoulders.
Poppy Read, age 16,
Callington Community College