Pause Breathe Listen Act — poem and video of Jackson reading it

Pause Breathe Listen Act

13 February 2020

As Parliament sits in its hilltop house, we spread
our banners out on the steps: CLIMATE EMERGENCY.
PAUSE BREATHE LISTEN ACT. We meditate
there for two hours. Traffic noise like thick smoke
rises from the city below. I hear you say:

some day. Some day, when all these cars are electric,
the city will be so much quieter. We’ll hear the birds —
all the birds, and the small people creeping
in the bushes. Some day, when these vehicles use renewable
energy… No. Not only that! When fewer

vehicles run. When people share, and live
closer — closer to work, closer together,
closer to you — some day, we’ll be able to breathe.
Even at peak hour, the people by the main road,
in the cheap flats, will breathe clean silent air.

Some day, sitting on this hill, Parliament will be
a place of listening, as it is for us today.
An Act of Parliament will be an act of the people,
and the people — black, brown, white, furred,
feathered, scaled, barked — will collect, and pause

in gratitude. Your words seem ridiculous. I don’t know why
I’m writing them down — but in the noise of all these cars,
these petrol, diesel, LNG motors, charging
about emitting, it’s hard to say what’s possible.
So some day… some day… some day. And may it be soon.

First published in Letters To Our Home: Creative Reflections on the Climate Crisis, Follow That Cat Publications 2020
Published on YouTube by The Poetry Archive, 2020

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