I had the pleasure last week of attending the launch up in London of the debut book by young eco-poet Helen Moore.
It’s called Hedge Fund & other living margins and, as you can probably tell from the title, it combines a critique of our current industrial/money system with a celebration of the real life that it is smothering and choking to death.
The impressive title poem does this in a very direct, and effective, way by alternating sparking descriptions of glorious nature with a flatter italicised voice describing the parallel death-world of finance.
The theme is also taken up in ‘capitalism, a Sonnet’, another of the poems that Helen performed on the night:
chemical Macaque glaxosmithkline
roche trepanned-brain Baboon
max factor eyes burning Cat l’oreal
Rabbit (the devil wears perfume)
o,dear easyjet ryanair
melting Reindeer, Polar Bear
but a bargain for mcdonalds‑
Earth’s rainforests slashed
As Asians sweat for adidas
nike the evil empire’s goddess
o, bless all ecocidal patriarchs‑so smart
in suits armani uniforms
a cocktail of intellect and greed
hellish stuff they puppet us to need
Helen clearly has no illusions as to the scale of the threat to our living planet posed by ‘The Cancer’ that is our civilization (as expressed in a piece of that name), and there is a certain inevitable sense of sadness running through her poetry – notably in ‘The Fallen’, which pays tribute to nine native species of British wildflower that have died out in recent years.
But she refuses to give way to despair and surging up through her carefully chosen words is a powerful message of hope drawn from the energy of life itself.
This is beautifully presented in ‘Pantoum on Planting Seeds’:
How I misjudge these smallest things‑
dull and dry as peppercorns,
when in my palm I hold
a potency waiting to be sown.
Dull and dry as peppercorns
and yet in dormancy they breathe,
potency waiting to unfold,
sensing fertile sun and soil.
And yet in dormancy they breathe
and slowly awaken‑
sensing fertile sun and soil‑
to rise with levity and purpose.
Slowly I awaken
to these living beings I hold;
seeking levity and purpose
they whisper, electric with potential.
Hedge Fund & other living margins by Helen Moore is published by Shearsman Books at £8.95. For details go to http://www.shearsman.com/pages/books/catalog/2012/moore.html