5 Nov 2021

Words from the Weary Wild Places

Enjoy a poem - written and performed by Mark Gallie / Loud Poets - specially commissioned to enhance our call for a Carbon Emissions Land Tax.

We had the idea for a poem because the language used in communicating the climate emergency is not always suited to overcoming the enormous psychological distance of climate change. Poetry has a special ability to communicate with compassion and vulnerability and can engage audiences in a way that political and scientific texts can’t.

The poem was commissioned for a COP26 event, co-hosted by the Scottish Ecological Design Association held on 10 November. The event focussed on our proposed Carbon Emissions Land Tax and other key ideas in ecological land reform. Before performing his poem at the event, Mark introduced it as his "call of the wild" and said that he loved writing it.

Read his poem and hear him performing it below.


Words from the Weary Wild Places

Once I could hold you in one hand
Its strange to think of you like that now
Bouncing baby beings bounding out
of cold ocean to boldly go forth and prosper
Each foot pressed into sand toes pointing forward
gripping each grain as if even one pace backwards was admitting failure

Those were some shakey first steps though
and I have seen more than my share of bambis on ice
you were so small, so fragile
still with each slipped sole
you stamped heavier tread
and found steady ground on my shores

I remember welcoming you into my embrace
keeping you safe in the shelter of my branches
rustling my leaves hoping you could finally dream
of something other than surviving
offered feast in the fruits of my fields
and the beasts of my being

Gathering came easy
hunting took longer
but it was clear 
which one you enjoyed more
The food chain rattles and sings
when you add a new link

I should have been more concerned
with your first word
it sounded different then
But I was so overwhelmed
so thrilled to hear you speak
so happy to see you healthy
I forgot to teach you "please"
and "enough"

I wish you could remember me back then
when kingdoms of creatures
claimed home to my crags
The vast expanse of my foliage covering
from sunrise to sunset

Season to season I would
paint the plentiful hills pastel hues
dance to the touring birdsong
and hum to the tune of harmony
the true beauty of balance

I can't dance anymore
too small, too fragile
my lands dry and cracked
habitats snapped from existence
My poor swollen peat ache
under the weight of your innovation

Once I could hold you in one hand
Now you're too big to carry

You've grown so much
Haven't lost that sense of adventure
you've shaped cities from the soil,
bloomed communities by the riverbanks
you gave magic a new name in science
tamed the sun, wind and waves.
Paving way and making space
carving your place in history

Just like when we first met
Trying to build something better
grow a world for those to come
You didn't know what that meant then
You do now
a course correction still sails straight

You have been facing forward for so long
you have forgotten how to be still and listen
So hear me here

Once I could hold you in one hand
Now I need one from you.

 © Mark Gallie / Loud Poets.

Green leaves - David Lintern

Like this?

Support our work in wild places

Become a Member