Sarah James – Summit


How many protesters does it take
to change a global light bulb? Let’s see.

Gathering force at Point Lay, walrus
drag themselves onto an Alaskan beach.

No ice edge to ride in shallow Chukchi;
these mammals almost too tired to dive.

Thirty-five thousand raise tusks skywards
as their old platform recedes north,

leaving them bald water and a new ledge –
over a two-mile drop of Arctic Ocean.

Too far down to seabed clams; hunger gnaws.
I see our shelves bared of food for our children,

their eyes sunk to shadow, chests shrunk
to rib cage, each heartbeat forced across skin,

crowds crushing stores, explosions of glass,
anger, knives…houses looted, feared husks

left behind, leaving… More home thaws;
the walrus mass instead on the nearest shores.

This was written in response to the latest warning sign of global warming. Retreating sea ice has caused walrus to mass on the coast of north-west Alaska ( ).

Sarah James, poet and short story writer: website at & V. Press, poetry editor. 
Be[yond] – poetry collection now out with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press (July 2013).
Into the Yell – poetry collection, Circaidy Gregory Press, 2010 – third prize, International Rubery Book Awards 2011.

One thought on “Sarah James – Summit

  1. Pingback: Poetry, protest & medicine

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