It began in Scarborough, on New Year’s Eve, beside the sea
The discarded boot perhaps, of some vagrant giant
Washed up on smaller shores;
Prised us open with ivory prongs
Finding things we carried with us from afar
The wonderfully-worn-loved leather jacket
I lost in Manchester in 1992
When I was not my current self;
An arctic blast; the pink of new-healed wounds;
The moment when you can’t go any further,
Collapse on cold stone;
Those streets and pavements we have laid on: any port in a storm.
The knowledge of the depths, of distance, waves and weather,
All brought here by the wanderer:
A slump of stories, a pat of migrant thought,
Perhaps a wisdom,
Slumbering comfortable just where he’d landed.
And people came, they gathered
Not just to gawp at foreign wonders
– For he seemed immediately our own –
But to engage, to recognise, to love…
And they cancelled the fireworks,
Because sometimes the most awe-inspiring eruptions,
The most resounding booms,
Happen not in the skies but in our hearts
Or deposited at our feet in ordinary towns.
And so, while Thor the Walrus slept,
The change gained energy and pace,
And our strange new world was glimpsed
On New Year’s Eve, beside the sea.
Iszi Jones is an activist and poet. She works for a housing charity and enjoys sharing the rest of her time between her local XR group and practical conservation work with her local Wildlife Trust. In 2021 she wrote a poem a day while walking to Glasgow with https://caminotocop.com/
Call to action:
Change happens when communities alter their behaviour and priorities… like choosing the wellbeing of a walrus over fireworks. Each moment when that happens is a window on a new future. Celebrating those moments embeds them more firmly in our culture. We can speak of them in our creative works. We can disrupt the old ways of thinking with public displays of altered behaviour. If you don’t have a walrus available, try just sitting in vigil in your town centre instead of shopping on a Saturday https://www.earthvigil.co.uk/getting-started/