Since the abandonment of the wooden piers,
evocative of a past, stretching back
to when the most primitive boats were known,
this tidal thoroughfare grew sick
from the outpourings
of numberless, noxious, industrial flows.
Today, it is restored!
Dace, roach and perch
again find nourishment
from the cleaner stream,
as do a score of avian breeds.
It is a triumph to have achieved
a river so 'green'.
Yet, as the tide recedes
exposing messy, muddy banks,
swans, geese and ducks
battle their way between
a convoy of enemy craft, most dire!
Carelessly discarded cola bottles
free of their sugar-laden cargo,
surge on their inexorable way
towards a gigantic, malevolent gyre.
About this poem
In July 2015, I spent a few days of waiting in Hammersmith/Fulham whilst Pam, my wife, had a partial knee replacement. This afforded me an unusual amount of time to read and time to walk in a place I would not have expected to.
Much of the reading time was devoted to reading the Pope's recent Encyclical 'Laudato Si' with its strong themes of ecology and the almost certain effects of climate change on the world's poorest people. I am not a Roman Catholic but I found myself marvelling at the careful construction of the arguments, including the dangers of our western throwaway mentality, and the urgent need for change on many fronts. Although I do not agree with every section of the Encyclical, it does feel to me a prophetic document. It was in the wake of reading the 200+ paragraphs that I wrote 'Enemy Convoy at Fulham Reach' with its notionally absurd title!
But as I wrote this observational poem and read 'Laudato Si', I grew profoundly sad.
I know well that a huge number of Christian leaders will ignore this prophetic document JUST BECAUSE it emanates from Rome. That is, I feel really distressing and I can do little, except use this somewhat inconspicuous blog to invite any Christian leaders who might happen to read this, and will at this moment not have considered reading the Encyclical, to set aside their prejudices, to find a copy of it on the web and read it, mark it and inwardly digest it - and then to preach from it. For it seems to me that if a majority of believers in Christ heard forthright preaching about our responsibility to be thoughtful stewards of this, our wonderful planet, the course of history could surely be transformed - and successive generations be thankful that the Pope's prophetic call to action was heeded; just in time.
This is the latest of a number of ‘Care of the Planet’ poems on this blog. The full collection of them can be accessed HERE