DePfeffelschrift PAGE TWENTY-THREE : John White

40 Degree Rant

Beyond our house today
a host of gulls are wheeling,
crying with distress and collective fear –
we look up at our troubled brothers keening
for a world they’re losing in the burning air.
Is this a wake, is this a wailing song,
are we weak-kneed each day with grief,
is this the poetry of pain, a cry for long gone
tranquillity – that Covid stole away like a thief
and substituted hopeless governance?

What’s this disturbance we feel, is it a curse,
are we reeling like the gulls,
are we ground down and sad like the nurse
who goes in and out the hospital each day
dulled by tiredness and overwork?
Do we stand impatient and wait
for a parcel from a driver who works too late
and isn’t paid a living wage?

It is enough. Let no one say
there is no way to organize our world
so we can eat and heat our homes
in this rich land where dividends
pile up in some accounts like knee-deep snow.
How about a change of plan –
raise taxes, pay decent wages,
take back the generators and the utilities.
Rethink this lousy system,
chuck out incompetent politicians
who won’t cherish their fellow citizens
or pay attention to the gulls who cry for rain.



John White graduated with distinction from the Poetry School/Newcastle University MA Writing Poetry, in 2021. He has a video performance poem on the New Boots and Pantisocracies Postcards from Malthusia blog, and recent written words in the New European, Alchemy Spoon, Ekphrastic Review and the just-published New Writing Scotland 40. 

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