Mother Nature……… by Anas Ahmadzai

The painfully sharp sapphire blue sky covers the above,

Skin flakes are grateful to have salty sweat moisture,

Cracks are inevitably dry on the face of the earth,

Like the dry rashes that lay on your arm , the dry land silently begs for moisture,

A heavy blessing from the heavens would only do for all,

Mother Nature’s eyes were once like glaciers but are now drowned in tears,

Mother Nature’s skin once like golden desert sand but now dry like the present cracks,

We’re not playing a game of poker,

If we risk our Mother Nature then we lose all,

We will lose all.

 

GENERATION SMARTPHONE – Silke Müller- Romain-Rolland-Schule

When talking about climate change in class, we soon realized that no matter how much knowledge we acquire about this subject, there will not be any considerable changes. Change will start happening when people start acting. Even though a small part of the world has done so, the majority is still ignoring the issue of climate change. I decided to write the following poem in order to shine light on this situation.

 

 We used to be creatures in the dark,

lighting our world with a single spark.

It gave us warmth, it kept us alive.

It was the reason we were able to survive.

That spark was the beginning of life as we know it,

developing each day and learning bit by bit.

We started domesticating nature all around,

invented the devil, called it dollar or pound.

Fast forward: we’re living in big cities.

Eyes glued to our phones, laughing at pictures of cute little kitties.

Rushing through life without ever stopping to take a breath,

relying on computers to take care of the rest.

Your Instagram account is more important than a tree,

the first thing you ask: Is the WiFi free?

They call it intelligence, progress maybe,

but I believe it’s getting worse with every baby.

Our children won’t ever see the sky,

in just a few years and I don’t get why.

They are born and raised in plastic.

The effects of a childhood spent online will be drastic.

Nature is not considered sacred anymore.

We just turn our head, walk on and close the door.

Everyone knows we’re destroying our earth,

it’s a fact we have known since the day of our birth.

Yet no one is willing to make a sacrifice

and let go of the luxury we’ve come to expect in our life.

It’s a shame that everyone’s just standing by,

while we’re watching our planet slowly die.

“It doesn’t concern us,” most will say.

“We’ll be long gone, come that day.”

But think of your children, who will one day say:

“Mom, it’s not our fault. Why do we have to pay?”

You walk around with your eyes fixed on the screen,

while beside you nature tries to impress with its green.

It could be the prettiest bird of them all,

but you won’t see it, until someone posts a picture of it on your wall.

You’re always looking for the latest trends,

to try and keep up with the people you call friends.

You call yourself normal, same as everyone else.

Never stop to consider that there might be something wrong with yourself.

We’re flying high, high and proud,

but who’s going to catch us when we fall through the cloud?

The cloud we created to protect our mind.

The fear of tomorrow made us decide to stay blind.

It’s easier to pretend that we still have it all,

escaping into a world where we no longer feel small.

A world without limits, a world without war.

It seems to be endless: one click and there’s more.

But reality is way more complex than fantasy.

There is no button no skip catastrophe.

We have to start acting to save this world in time.

This world full of beauty is our responsibility: yours and mine.

Plastic Sea

The thin ribbon of water that flows
down to Hamburg beneath
locusts and ash trees, but mainly
old birches, where ducks live and coots
that dart off mutely, smelling of the swamps
in the quiet old woods of Stormarn and Holstein,
is called the Alster, and is and always was
a river. It was made into two lakes in the middle
of the great Hanseatic city only when Adolf
III returned to the city from the crusade
in the Holy Land and ordered a miller
to dam the stream with mighty dikes
that would have stopped even the Elbe’s
flow. Then a northern sea spread out
amidst the wooden town; all the Holstein waters
of the Wöddelbek, Rönne, Wischbeck and Lankau,
the Sielbek and the Tangstedter Mühlenbach
flowed and could not drain; within weeks
the relentless element, flowing
on and on, grew vaster and
broader, grimly unstoppable,
until first the Outer, then the Inner
Alster (not cut off until much later), became
two lakes, turquoise green today and turquoise
blue tomorrow, and almost always roughened by
the west winds, hemmed by belts of dense reeds and
by now beloved for more than eight hundred years.

Die Alsterseen

So it winds its way, the darkly glittering water-
adder, past bushes and paths, through
the banks’ red-branched thickets. And
is utterly silent. A trickling, a softly purling
whisper is faintly heard when it has wood in its
mouth, stones in its bed, polystyrene panels washed
from a construction site somewhere or a spindly
bramble bush that got in its way and that it
drags along for a time as though
the winter-Alster claimed that
none need die as long as
they can play. It is black and half
a man’s height higher when it floods.
Over Christmas 2014, after weeks of heavy
rain over the Feldmark and the last scraps of
deciduous woods between Kaltenkirchen, Bad
Oldesloe and Duvenstedt, the Alster’s tributaries,
otherwise so idyllic, poured into the river with
unprecedented force and transformed it
within hours into an unpredictable
flood necessitating barricades
of sandbags to protect
the housing estates, and crowds of
rubberneckers were sluiced onto the shifted
shore of the Alster exactly like, as cynics said, flotsam.

Die schwarze Welt

Each black meter of water, rolling past ominously
mute, had the momentum of over three
hundred stacked-up fuel tankers,
by someone’s calculations.
Meadows, playgrounds, riparian
woodlands, the paths and many streets,
as well as bridges, lots, docks, a big shed at
the foot of the railway embankment holding God
knows what long-forgotten junk were
submerged and sank for days
and for weeks. Children
asked whether the water would
stay like this now, so high, so dark, and
so, so bad. Yes, I said to a little girl
with an eye patch, it looks like
it’ll stay like this from
now on. Ah well.
The world is
turning black.
And the neighbor,
arm in arm with his wife,
dog invisible, gazing at a bend in
the Alster where the river used to come
around the curve and fling its gold-brown
glitter at the bank, eyed the nightmarish
immensity of water and said hollowly
that never in his life, since he
sailed boats here as a
schoolboy, had he experienced
the like on the Alster, never had it
happened before, not even in a dream,
in which everything is possible, was it
possible. Too quickly for the darting pupils
to follow, the river rolled under the Fuhlsbütteler
railway bridge southward to the Free and
Hanseatic city. I saw three plastic
canisters and pictured a raft
you could build with them.
High water, said the stunned
neighbor. Floods. They’d always
happened, summer or winter,
in the fall or especially in the spring,
as soon as the snowmelt descended on Stormarn.
But this here, the black water masses, such
a draggled park, never, really, no.

Der Alsterlauf

Forced into stone embankments, the Alster
flows past the Rödingsmarkt and the Herrlichkeit
and joins the Elbe between Hamburger Neustadt and
the Portugiesenviertel. Six hours it takes for steamers,
freighters and tankers to reach the sea along the
deep-dredged channel. The three canisters,
a raft that will never be built, since I am
not Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn
and my favorite river is not the Mississippi, but
a stream by which I often linger to gaze at the water
and reflect on the meaning of poetry, these three
pathetic empty plastic containers drift for
weeks from the railway bridge into the
brackish Elbe between St. Pauli,
Finkenwerder and Glückstadt.
Their plastic, cast, molded,
punched and glued in a factory in,
let’s say, Hangzhou, before being shipped to
Hamburg along with millions of identical milky white
canisters, requires, unless it’s ground to bits,
around 850 years to decompose and
vanish from the earth, as long a span of time
as the two Alster lakes have existed in the middle
of Hamburg. Though no doubt what is true
of the soul is true of plastic. Never,
never does it vanish for good.

Plastikmeer5

In a poem in his collection Rare Earths,
Arne Rautenberg, from Kiel, transforms the
oceans’ infestation of plastic into art, into his art,
for which he expresses his thanks (to the tides, the
motion of the waves, and to the ultraviolet light, as well
as to the plankton and the great ocean gyres), his
thanks for being an artist who can play upon
all the continents. Long live art. Long live
the one and only, eternal joy that is
artistic freedom! This means, too,
that everything wants to be art, just as
everything that is at all alive wants to be free.
Plastic, in the year 1800, for Friedrich
von Hardenberg, who called him-
self Novalis, the one who clears
new land, was an aesthetic term,
when he wrote that music, plasticity
and poetry were inseparable elements,
existing together in every free art, just combined
in different proportions. Novalis thought these thoughts
in Burgenland, in Weissenfels on the Saale, which
together with the Mulde, the Müglitz and the
Vereinigte Weisseritz forms a river-land
that he loved, and where he spent
his whole life. All four rivers
flow into the Elbe,
and so, at Barby,
does the Saale, where
Novalis went swimming as a boy,
naked, and often long into the night.

Plastikmeer4

In his whole life Hardenberg never once
held a thing made of plastic. No wonder! There
were no synthetic materials, not even in the hair-
band of a tiny little doll, nowhere in the entire old
world filled with the murmur of the endless
forests, the stillness, the ringing of
bells and the stink of cloacas.
Yogurt cups; lids; clocks; cling wrap;
shopping bags; bags of all colors, sizes and
shapes; toys of all shapes, sizes and colors; cigarette
lighters; disc jackets; pens; car mats; disposable
razors; hub caps; combs; clips; ballpoint pen
cases and cases for cases; bottles; bottle
caps; automobile, tractor, truck and
harvester tires; bowls; plates;
eating utensils; bread bags
and card cases; cases for card
cases; cases for mirror frames; canisters;
disposable chairs; disposable bowls; disposable
tables; plugs; sockets; disposable socket boards; endless
lengths of wires, wires, in sacks and bags, stuffed into
disposable cases; nothing, nothing at all, not the
least little bit of it existed in the as-yet
undestroyed, unwired quiet world,
when Novalis swam in the Saale
without a thought for burning fat,
building muscles or steeling his
chest, but perhaps instead reflecting
whether the bosom is the breast elevated
to a state of mystery, and physics
nothing but the teachings
of the imagination.

Kupferstich Alsleben an der Saale

For the most part, the plastic
trash which the Elbe sweeps into
the North Sea vanishes there in the sea’s
dark abysses. The sediments of the long-since
ravaged sea floor contain inconceivable
quantities of tiny bits of microplastic
particles, mainly fibers, the sum
of which, according to the British Royal
Society’s trade journal Open Science, exceeds
by ten thousandfold the larger fragments of plastic
that drift in polluted water gyres, agglomerating
into veritable continents of trash, larger than
Central Europe. If each square kilometer
of the ocean floor were a lake, all
these lakes would be clogged,
one could almost say: shat full of
quadrillions of plastic fibers, all the way
up into the tallest treetops on their shores.

Plastikmeer2

Nowhere on this Earth, at the North Pole,
in the Black, Red or Dead Sea, the
Caribbean or the Antarctic, is there a
large body of water, a coast or a beach with-
out plastic residue, report London scientists
headed by Lucy Woodall from the Natural History
Museum, outside whose façade of noise-insulating
windows the Thames sloshes past, regulated and
polluted. Floating in the world’s seven seas,
according to calculations, there are nearly
two hundred and seventy thousand tons
of plastic trash, a horrendous number,
but well-nigh absurd, for it is mysteriously
small compared with the galactic quantities of
plastic trash that all of us actually dump into the sea,
namely an estimated six and a half million tons, for
who can calculate the true weight of the plug
with which we are stopping the world?
Where does it go, all the crap of
affluence, you have to ask. Only
a fraction of the trash, it seems, floats
on the surface in the form of visible particles.
Larger particles break up in the swells, are ground up,
shredded, in part by UV light, into microparticles
that can barely be seen. If algae or microbes
settle on them, they go under, sinking
like ships, airplanes or a corpse
down into the dark
at the bottom.

Plastikmeer1

Lucy Woodall’s team analyzed
twelve sediment samples from the ocean
floor collected over the course of twelve years,
up to 2012, in the southwestern Indian Ocean and
in the northeastern Atlantic. Four coral samples, too,
were studied under the microscope and in the
infrared spectrometer. All the sediment
samples contained microplastic
particles, mostly fibers, generally two to
three millimeters long, but often less than tenth
of a millimeter thick. The samples contained
an average of thirteen and a half particles
per fifty milliliters of liquid. More than
half of the particles were viscose,
which is not a plastic, but an
artificial fiber made from
cellulose and used in cigarette
filters, and increasingly in clothing.
Fish, skates, sharks, wales and turtles have
no use for the stuff; for them viscose is poison
from which they will perish, like anyone
who finds nothing left to eat but
plastic. The second most
common material found in all
marine creatures across the globe
was polyester; indeed, one could speak of
polyester fish, polyester water snakes,
polyester octopi. And perhaps,
once the particles are ground smaller
and smaller, until they condense
with the seawater vapors
and rise into the air, one will speak
of clouds of polyester or viscose: plastic clouds.
Due to the small number of samples, it was
impossible to compare the frequency and
composition of the sediments. But fibrous
microparticles seem to be found through-
out the deep sea, ten thousand times
more prevalent in sediments than
in the contaminated ocean gyres.
According to projections, just
one square kilometer of sediment
from the Indian Ocean’s deep-sea mountains
contains around four quadrillion plastic fibers. And
studies of the deep-sea valley, the sink for the whole
world’s plastic trash, have not yet been undertaken.
Darkest night reigns there. It is lightless and void
of stars. Nothing sparkles. And yet even there
breaths the vast world of the restless stars
that float in the sky’s blue ocean.

*

Photos: Inner and Outer Alster (lakes) in Hamburg (1), a black swan in a blinkered world, the Alster in Hamburg-Klein Borstel (3), the plastic pollution of the oceans and coasts (4, 5, 7, 8), copperplate of Alsleben an der Saale in the 18th century, as Novalis knew the town and river in his childhood (6).

(Translated by Isabel Fargo Cole)

exegi monumentum

I’ve erected a monument
more durable than brass
only today
of a plastic bottle
a yoghurt pot
a beer can
some chewing gum
three plastic bags
after I finish eating and drinking
they will take 450 years to disintegrate
there is also some other packaging
that I don’t know
how long it will take to decompose
but definitely longer than I will
I’m not talking about recycled paper
that won’t outlive me
even if I was to write a poem
on every single
paper bag
bags are one thing
carbon dioxide is another
10 tonnes of black gold
currently in a gas state
hovers over my head
and I’m glad that it hovers
as I wouldn’t know where to store it
10 tonnes just this year
and not less in the previous years
300 tonnes by the age of 30
and I’m not planning to die just yet
(even though there are people who plan it for me at times)
several nice trucks
a little suburban house
made of carbon dioxide, waste and smoke
and all of it is mine
mine mine mine
my precious
just imagine that I’m saying it like Gollum
we even look alike
I’ve erected a monument more durable than brass
and so did you
to each his own Mordor
and to some a bit of other’s as well

translated by Anna Hyde

Lima

For Uli Schreiber

The flooding of Passau, now unpreventable
– what’s its value at the Climate Summit,
what does it gain us?
Faster even than the Alpine
glaciers melt, we barter droughts
in Australia, California wildfires,
floods in Bangladesh
and the submersion of the isle of Tuvalu
and turn them to profit mass. Global warming,
global business. The sky is green
over Lima on the last day
of the conference, so luminous is the sea,
and the harbor of Ancon is crossed
by murmurations of starlings, at whose sight
one such as Auden would think: we each must love,
no matter whom, or all will die, though Auden,
thinking this too drastic, then wrote instead:
We must love one another and die.

*

(Translation: Isabel Fargo Cole)

There is never enough water … by Rita Paz

The earth is in a cry for help.

Our skin burns like never before

as cracks cannot be filled in, as if the earth’s crust

was like glass.

As we take a wrong step we break our surface.

Pods cannot grow in such darkness.

We act as if there is no right or wrong on our planet.

But is there a solution to the decay of earth?

Are we saving ourselves or are we never learning the lesson, until

until…

until it is too late.

Are we as intelligent as we think we are?

Is our brain big enough to understand that without a planet, we cannot study the planet!

So should we keep searching for WATER in the Universe or SAVE the ONE that we HAVE?

THINK.

There is no more hope…by Mo Konteh

The unforgiving clouds release no rain

Skin is as dry as the ground we walk

Cracks appear and cannot be covered

Like a fish out of water, it is hard to cope.

A droplet would create peace of mind,

Pods of replenishing goodness is a thing of yesterday.

There is no more hope.

Never did I expect to admit this.

Is this a sign of weakness…

Enough warnings were given.

Water is gone and we are to blame.

A memory by Bella Amodeo

 

For me the sea used to be a beautiful place with a pleasant atmosphere but now as things change, the sea also changes in to a dangerous weapon that takes lives rather than regenerates them…

                                                                       

                                                        As I walked closer to my new discovery                   imagesCAZTWVAZ  

I could hear the light blue waves

washing up on to the hot golden sand.

As I approached the waves I could feel

the scorching earth grow colder and colder

until I stopped and waited for the transparent water to tickle my toes.

The blazing sun beamed down on my back

turning me red like a lobster.

The delicate ocean touched me gently

giving me goosebumps all over my skin

As the waves retreated they drew me in.

I followed their lead and threw myself in to that deeper world,

My body moving quickly in shock from this new sensation.

I let this feeling wash over me so I could explore this new

magical place that I now found myself in.

 

Rare Species

In our workshop with Xiaolu she asked us to move on from the rural images of our mythical past and focus on the urban environments we walk every day. To be true to our experiences and speak of what our eyes witness every day.   Here is my story.

Students at Islington Arts and Media School working on their creative writing, using the senses as a stimulus.

Students at Islington Arts and Media School working on their creative writing, using the senses as a stimulus.

IMG_6711

Rare Species

When I walk the streets of my youth

It is hard to ignore a pressing truth,

that everyday a species dies

But no one listens to their cries.

Where are the things I took for granted,

That made me feel rooted, planted.

I am not talking about things of green

But the places, the spaces, I have been.

The Post Office, Corner Shop and Coffee Bar.

Where I ran an errand, bought some sweets,

Got taken out for Sunday treats!

They have become dots on a corporate plan

That doesn’t care about the little man

whose business slowly dies a death

while customers watch his dying breath

from over a sea of Caramel Latte

They enjoy the branded party.

When I walk the streets of my youth

It is hard to ignore a pressing truth,

One we should have seen from afar:

That What we drink, has become Who we are.

By Ashley Grey

When I was then

The sun beamed onto the crystallised grass,

Although bright, the air was frosty.

The wind slid through the door leading to my garden which chilled our bodies as if we had been plunged into winter.

The grass cunched like autumn leaves. Our night clothes practically set in stone and our bare feet were as cold as a witch’s heart.

Our quick footsteps pounded across the lawn as our feet numbed.

We soon realised that going on a trampoline in polar-like temperatures was not the best of ideas.imagesCAAKVBAB