An English Spring time: (Climate Conversations with children)
A poem created together with 55 children in Year 8 in Burnage Boys High School and Levenshulme Girls High School in Manchester for the 5th Anniversary of MACFEST.
Collated and crafted by Lydia Meryll.
Well, where are we with the Planet now?
5 years on and where have we come to?
Springtime in Manchester…
The world is still warming, the weather shocks us when it can,
Wakes us up with wet and cold, keeps us in with hot and dry
Families in Pakistan have suffered, and not just Balochistan
Sudden rains and fierce waters melt from glaciers up high
Mothers planting seedlings in the dry earth of Chibombo
Found their Zambian tree crop washed away,
And Mums in Bedfordshire waded to school but found they couldn’t stay
They say half the schools in England are simply unprepared,
And today we have an English Spring
New growth, sweet flowers we planted a year ago
New understandings, where we have come to?
Mothers are waking up to high food prices, turning down the thermostat,
Fathers quake at the cost of diesel, shouting at the kitchen range,
Children are asking questions, teachers say that Science is set.
How do we have these conversations? How do we deal with Climate Change?
Mothers speak to Mothers, Dadi, Da di-maa, what can we do?
Daughters speak to mothers, Mummy how can we come through?
“Its not our fault. There’s nothing we can do… “
“We could plant flowers!” “We could have my bike repaired!”
“Does your Mother tongue not give you the answers to my questions?”
“I’ll try to walk instead of driving, I’ll turn those lights off, save the bills”
“Where is the Science here for me, daughter – in Urdu?”
“Let’s grow our OWN food here”, she says, “And save the soil!”
My Mum speaks Turkish, she says “Plant more trees.
They make the air clean”. She wants us to “reduce the use”.
My Mum speaks Punjabi. She knows not to waste – please.
In Farsi, my Mum knows the dangers of factory smoke.
And here we are in Manchester
Springtime of the Industrial Revolution
Sweet flowers search for a passing insect
And now for the boys. “Hi dad, can I talk to you? “
We talk of football, mechanics, money, movies, games and grades.
I don’t know what my dad knows or doesn’t know …
“But what about the Climate Crisis Dad?”, I say – light fades.
“Why are you late home? I was worried. Take away? Don’t complain!”
Hey Dad, did you know we waste food mountains every day?
Do you know it makes methane?”
“Annoying!” says Dad, “Did you shower today? Have you done your homework?”
“But Dad, We’re wasting water, cutting forests, eating meat .. Running out..
“Stop!” says Dad, “finish your food.”
“But Dad, Why IS that island sinking under the ocean?”
“Its fake news!”, he says. “Tell us what’s good”
“Well Dad, I’ve written this poem:
The vast ocean coated in trash,
So many creatures coated in ash.
The vast earth is about to collapse.
Glaciers decrease in height…
Is this right?
We began the world with gladness,
Now what we are doing is madness.
Can we really BE so careless?
Patience, we can make it happen: windmills, tide and solar panels
We’ll scoot to school, we will have some fun.
We’ll check the Science, make insulation models.
We’ll grow more flowers, make electricity from the sun,
We will water saplings. Build our own soil,
We’ll tend the bean plants as they grow, plant coriander, grow our own.
Mum says, “Stop burning oil”. Dad says, “That’s far too far.
Find me an affordable electric car!”
So here we are in an English Spring. 5 years on.
New growth, these children want a voice ….
They’ve understandings we can share. Take them with us.
There IS choice.
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