COP22 – #COP22poem



During COP22, poet Dan Simpson crowdsourced a poem about climate change for Free Word. As COP22 discussed this global issue in Marrakech, we invited you to be part of the conversation by helping to create a brand new poem.

A Climate of Creativity– COP22 Crowdsourced Poem

“I can’t breathe”
the Earth says
“and where’ve all my fish gone?
all those unique species?
hearts of millions

Earth screeching:
“No, no, I couldn’t eat another thing.
Why do you bite the hand that feeds
over and over again?
Greedy. Selfish.
no progress:

‘It’s causes are not anthropomorphic’?
Science jargon.
‘Well, if it means warmer summers I’m all for it’?
I loathe your rusty minds
you’re not exactly a rebel
you are unearthly
there’s no place in the sun for us both.”

Forewarned, displaced passion ends in shadow
lost love, dark dust doomed
viscose thoughts of a dirty romance
black, and cold
thinking about going it alone
breaking ice, breaking sweat
cold steam crashing waves on rocks
lonely parts per million spread in liquid
blurred stars if she deserts us.

Against these issues
it’s hard to find renewable energy
some soil resilience
it’s not easy, standing up
to gain height and take light
the choke-weed climbs a strong host
the trespass of the sun, a faded splendour
a poisonous gift
sick burns the colour of orange
too hot.

But try anyway
take time rooting down
the problem’s not about knowing what to do
it’s knowing that if we do nothing:
dry soil
hyperactive wind
mad clouds and yellow moon.

When the climate’s climactic
the message goes up in smoke
we don’t get a carbon captured future
all the other ones melted
no refreezing, no reset.

Draw lessons like sap
a letter on a tree’s core:
we’ve got a lot in common with the world
together we can be ordinary heroes
we have to start moving now, even if only a fraction
solid moves – to zero carbon
tectonic tactics can move entire continents into action.

@SpikeYawns | @Chandrana7 | @Paraphyso | @BBrownskirt | @samillingworth | @EllaMcLellan | @purelypoetry | @LLynchStevens | @MayaChowdhry | @raylaurence1 | @JeremyLelean | @HobbsPoetry | @idledragon27 | @tastesofink | @Robot_Dunlop | @rachelmshannon | @BobHillArts | @Burt_Williamson | Justine Kenyon | Dee Ashton | Barry Fentiman-Hall | Elizabeth Rae

About COP22
In 1994 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Conference of the Parties (COP) was designated as the supreme governing body of the Convention and meets annually to agree global approaches to reducing greenhouse gas concentration.

About Free Word
Free Word sees literature and writing as a powerful tool for encouraging people to act on climate change. Through their programme, Living Dangerously: Stories of Climate Change, Free Word has teamed up with partners from Britain and around the world to commission authors and host writers’ residencies, bringing you stories that will engage you in the climate change conversation. You can see the creative work that they commissioned around COP21 last year ‘Stories of Climate Change’ here, and also their spoken word poetry competition online here.


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Photograph: Amy Zhang