Put not your trust in Princes, sociopaths,
and populists! Yup: R is on the up.
We mutter in our coffee cups
or scream “just do the math”
but there’s the rub: they modelled, did their sums;
convened their focus groups
(which feast on spin, and tonics for the troops,
and marching bands, and martial pipes and drums).
“Mere numbers are for crunching! Common sense
– the good old British type –
will see us through”, they blustered (but events
proved otherwise). Such hubris, humbug, hype,
hypocrisy, and cant! Their “fingers crossed”!
Their calculated cynicism glossed!
Down Brixton Hill the rain is falling fierce
and fearsome past the prison gates:
a sudden spate
to wash away the layers of grime, the smears
of soot and diesel fumes. No music spills
from the Electric. Empty stand the chairs
in Windrush Square;
forlorn, the shuttered shopfronts. Covid kills
communities discreetly, by degrees,
with segregation, racism and stealth;
a zoonotic freeze
on breath and health.
We tread a bleak and dread-filled path
Between the shadow and its aftermath.
Obscured beneath the moral permafrost
of mankind’s ceaseless, cruel,
destructive search for lebensraum, which fuels
a vision forms, in some cool limpid pool
of keener consciousness:
how more might be achieved with less.
We mined, drilled (fracked!) for carbon molecules;
as Ahab scourged the oceans of the world,
as Icarus caressed the Aegean skies,
we hurtled, wings outstretched, and sails unfurled;
chased down electric avenues. All lies!
Together we’ll rewild the biosphere
and weather these coronavirus years.
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