Monday, 5 November 2018

Climate change

Magma's Climate Change Issue is out now and has some stunning and thought-provoking pieces - looking not just at the possible impact of climate change, but the relationship between this and poetry. There are some remarkable poems here - David Tait's 'Beijing Parakeets', Yvonne Reddick's 'Brent Crude', Harry Man's 'Up in the Woods' and my particular favourite, Nan Craig's 'The loss of birds'. But there are so many I could list.

When the call for submissions to this issue of Magma came, I had just read an article in The Guardian about mass mortality events (MMEs). There are many causes of these, but they can be related to extreme temperature or temperature shifts. In one of the biggest of these MMEs, hundreds of millions of starfish along the coast from Mexico to Alaska were affected by sea star wasting disease and began to 'melt into white gloop'. White cuts appeared on their bodies and some ripped off their infected arms and tried to walk away. But for most the disease was deadly. Some of the species most affected were morning sun stars, giant pink stars, purple stars, sunflower stars and rainbow stars. 

Something about this particular case moved me. I wrote a poem and submitted it, but it didn't get accepted - which is fine (not least because it needs seven lines of introduction) - just look at the ones that did! But it still means something to me, so I thought I'd share it anyway (now it has got the intro):

Sea star MME

the sunflower
tore off its petals,
the rainbow
the pink and purple
cut to white,
the morning sun
and when night came
the stars
had lost their reflections 

And to be honest, anything that inspires us to think and to create, rather than destroy, has to be good - so thank you to Magma for prompting me to think more and for the brilliant issue.



  1. Beautiful and poignant poem. And I should look out that issue of Magma.

  2. Thank you so much. And yes, I think you'll love it.