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Tufton Street: A PoemJacqueline Saphra

Jacqueline Saphra
+ posts


We gather here in love and rage

to tell the story of our age,

to ring the bell, to write the page,

to raise the roof, rattle the cage,

expose the lies, call out the cheats

who foster, posture, pant and pitch

deadly denial, rank and rich,

and peddle death at Tufton Street

and peddle death at Tufton Street


Sound the alarm and ring the bell

of Exxon, BP, Chevron, Shell

who machinate in parallel

to send us down to climate hell.

They build their case, they take their seats

while trading shares in human lives.

They’re cheek to cheek with fifty-five,

the horror house of Tufton Street

the horror house of Tufton Street


They’re selling oil and climate porn

my friends; this is a perfect storm

designed to twist and misinform.

The soft skin of the earth is torn

her bones are melting in the heat

while devils trade in murky tanks

amassing billions in the bank

of oily gold from Tufton Street

of oily gold from Tufton Street


But when they face what they’ve ignored

which fool will fall upon their sword

and tell the chairman of the board

they’ve failed because their plan is flawed?

They’ll play denial on repeat

from boat to bunker they will bleat

this isn’t fair on the elite;

but if our human edifice should fall,

from city slum to penthouse suite

the fire and flood will take us all.

So say goodbye to Tufton Street,

goodbye, goodbye to Tufton Street.


Jacqueline Saphra is a poet, playwright, teacher and activist. She is the author of nine plays, five chapbooks and four poetry collections. Her second collection, All My Mad Mothers was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and her fifth, Velvel’s Violinwill be out from Nine Arches Press in July 2023. Jacqueline is a teacher and mentor for The Poetry School and a founder member of Poets for the Planet.