WASTELAND

A Lament for the Lost – A Memorial for the Obliterated.

A gathering of grieving relatives led by one outcast, one animal to another.

We gather here today to mourn the loss of this space and all its inhabitants, missed by all of us who loved it, who used it and needed it, to mourn its passing. Its death was sudden and unexpected. It was taken from us one day by a virulent attack of human greed and arrogance. It could do nothing against such violence, it had no defences and sadly, fell swiftly; was struck down by an infestation of metal claws and teeth, that ravaged and rent all its bodies; breaking, ripping, cracking, an attack so strong and consuming it withered and broke all before it. The space had no chance and now the absence breathes it’s stillness, the shock still ripples in the warm air, from the flattened earth, its brown cleared body, lays, still in shock; all its parts gone, all its family, all it was, lost, killed.

The trees broken and scooped up into the skip like they were nothing, all the bushes, flowers, plants torn: the ancient elderberry bushes, the thistles, the poppies, the foxgloves, the long swaying grasses, all fallen to this fast-acting human virus, that leaves nothing in its wake, all just hours before swaying softly, beautifully, in the summer breeze, never dreaming of such violence to come. The infection took it all, laid waste and we gather to remember what lived only a short time before. All that we loved and cherished, rubbished by a force we cannot forgive or forget. All of us have our own memories: you dogs, loved to walk here, nose around, roll, run, explore, play, and you cats too, explored, sniffed, listened to the hidden lives only you could hear and had your secret, sleepy places; all you birds that filled the trees with song and life, you chatter in the empty air, wondering where your homes, your resting places, have gone; you spiders, butterflies and insects, lost, so many, we weep for all of you and stand by with you in shock and outrage that this space, our space, brothers and sisters, was so cruelly, coldly, mown down.

In the aftermath, we saw he tried to comfort his small black dog, that stopped dead as he turned over the slope and just stared, not understanding, his eyes scanning the void before him, looking for his wild-land, his dreamtime; and the white cat, who sat on the wall beside the bare earth, staring, staring, stone still, sniffing at the scent of broken things; nowhere for her to hide now, no secret shady spots in humming grass and twittering air; we grieve with them.

We all mourn together, oh we mourn; the loss of a space like this affects us all, diminishes all. It will never be replaced. It takes more than is seen. Yes, it was only small, it wasn’t grand, but it was ours, everyone’s; it was wild and we all loved it and it loved us back, spreading out its wild energy for all to share. We miss it already, we feel deeply the painful emptiness, the whole aura altered around it; the after-effects linger, as we come together in our grief. But the human virus is merciless and cruel, laying waste to more and more of nature’s offerings, more and more succumbing to this disease. There seems to be no cure, the virus grows stronger, more virulent and deadly. As it takes, so it wants more and spreads and spreads, leaving ruin and death in its wake, tainting every life.

So we remember, so we weep, for all that is lost, for all those taken by the wrenching, for those who didn’t have a chance to escape; no warning given, just short, sharp shock; they knew what they were doing. We come together around this space, while others look on, unaware of all the tragedies that have unfolded this day, the many deaths, the huge losses. The atmosphere is charged with a kind of still shock and we convey our sorrow to what is left to absorb it.

We live to fight another day, my friends, but the death-cult grows strong; we must be on our guard. They worship death, we worship life, and they hate us for it. These infections are unleashed fast and furious, the plagues are many and sneak through in disguise; deception is a powerfully ally and dumb perceptions are so easily deceived. We see and feel these deaths, these losses, while most just walk on by. We come together to share our outrage and sadness, to remember this small sanctuary of life, ruined and savaged; small, yes, but potent in its power to soothe and support, to bring together and to sustain. We have each other and we will not forgive or forget; something stirs deep in the darkness, knows and rises. The blind ravagers and executors of others plans know not what they do, they only know how to obey, to follow their masters instructions, not understanding these overseers care as little for them as they did for the life they hacked and ruined. One day they will.

So, at the end of this hard day, so still and quiet now, after the upheaval, we remember and ache for what has been taken from us, but stand together, strong and defiant, with our hearts open and our breath one; our love for one another all we have to hold on to, but that is enough, for now; we comfort each other, as they wreak their havoc, oblivious and hollow, they build their own tombs and we will be forever free.

wasteland

T.S. Eliot : ‘What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow                                                              Out of this stony rubbish?’

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

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  1. A grievous reality laid out so raw and frank and yet so poetically beautiful. Every sentence, heartfelt. When written, when read.

    I’ve bookmarked this, to read again from time to time. I believe it will prove timeless. This, a volume in itself that waste no words.

    “They worship death, we worship life, and they hate us for it.” As I hate the darkness in them.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you for such kind comments, I’m glad that it conveyed some of what I felt, that means a lot, because it meant so much to me. It nearly crushed me to face what they were doing. It literally took my breath away. I’m hoping to move very soon and I can’t wait, because to have to look at and live with that ‘wasteland’ every day is heartbreaking, just unbearable, to listen to the continual ravaging of somehwere that was so peaceful and calm. I know you can’t ever get away from it, that this just echoes what is happening everywhere, sadly, as they steal and kill more and more land, nowhere is free of this dark hand, but this is too close, a space that had been appreciated for years. So, yeah, I hate the darkness in them too, so, so much.
      Thank you for reading and commenting, it helps to share these experiences, even if it changes nothing.

  2. Wow, this is amazing writing that sustains your strong voice throughout. Powerful metaphors and allusions kept my attention rapt. T.S. Eliot remains as sustaining a voice that echoes truth from an earlier century — my original idea for a commonplace book, now my blog, contains so many quotes from Thomas Stearns that continue to buoy my spirit. One such quote from Eliot “sudden solitude in a crowded desert” runs like a leitmotif of inspiration for my own work.
    Your stark and accurate depiction of the wasteland created by dark collaboration of homo sapiens is as pitiless as it is accurate. I’m also reminded of the rabbit Fiver in Richard Adams’ Watership Down — the gentle rabbit who could read the construction/destruction billboard. Adams was a fervent and effective spokesperson for animal rights, he carefully researched the world of rabbits before writing that epic novel.
    So many beautiful well selected descriptive adjectives keep the poem alive and pulsing. As Peter has noted, this one will reward many re-readings. The sharply worded allusion to mechanically separated flesh is but one example: “metal claws and teeth, that ravaged and rent all its bodies; breaking, ripping, cracking, an attack so strong and consuming it withered and broke all before it.”
    Kindest thanks 🙂

    • What a lovely response, thank you so much. I really did write this from the heart, but I always wonder if it can really reach anyone else, so comments like yours and Peter’s, inspire me to keep on, even though, as I’ve said, it changes nothing. It is the only response I have. The destruction of this space has disturbed me greatly, it’s effect ripples out and continues, as they ‘work’ every day, just awful.
      I love Richard Adams, I am very humbled by even the smallest reminder to his writing. I remember the first time I read Watership Down, I was just amazed and destroyed, in equal measure and then following that with ‘The Plague Dogs’, wow!! I had never come across anyone who had written about animals in that way, and about vivisection, I was stunned that you could write novels about such things, I took a lot from that, all those years ago!! I too love Eliot, there are so many quotes, timeless, as you say. The power of good poetry is eternal. There are so many quotes from him that speak so resonantly. Good writing does sustain and buoy the spirits doesn’t it? I have found so much comfort in other’s writing, I couldn’t survive without it. I have only recently discovered Joy Williams, do you know her? She is a great writer about
      animals/environment; I’m reading her book ‘Ill Nature’, very timely, as she too is angry and disgusted by humanity’s assault on animals and the planet. I feel a kindred soul when I read her!!
      Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response about my writing, I take it all in and use it, thank you.

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