#PoetryReadathon – Extinction Rebellion, London Occupation, a poem by Leslie Tate

Poetry readathon

Extinction Rebellion, London Occupation

(With acknowledgments to Adlestrop, Edward Thomas)

I remember

where we nested on trucks

with our talons drilled into metal

as we sent up wild cries calling to our children,

and they gathered,

rising from their bedrooms

and playgrounds and schoolrooms

to fold their wings around the wounds

and consecrated body of Earth our host.

How we made tarmac into garden,

seeding ourselves in the night

and easing up next morning

through drains and cracks

to release soft balsamic fragrance

and love-repeat blooms

unlocking who we are.

Yes, I remember how we offered ourselves,

sitting cross-legged on stony ground

held together by our songbooks and testimonies

and the rising tide of quiet

on the bridge and in the Square,

and in the silent wait at the Circus for leaf-boat rescue.

And in that minute, as I watched, the air became an Arch,

the sun told the truth; the traffic stopped

and the trees and protestors stood tall

raising a dream-song space with their bodies,

while all the birds

of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire

sang emergency.

Leslie Tate https://leslietate.com/

This poem is about the April XR occupation of London. It took a long time to write, so I didn’t read it until I was MC-ing a stage during the July and October uprisings. Here’s a link to Blythe Pepino’s song ‘Emergency’, referred to at the end https://soundcloud.com/blythehart/emergency.

A wonderful reading of this poem by Leslie Tate.

About Leslie Tate

Leslie Tate is the author of a trilogy of novels, ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’, as well as his transgender memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’, which has been turned into a film. Leslie studied Creative Writing with the University of East Anglia and has an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College, London University. His poetry has been shortlisted for the Bridport, Geoff Stevens and Wivenhoe Prizes.

On his website https://leslietate.com/ Leslie posts up weekly creative interviews showing how people use their imagination in life, in many different ways. He also runs a comedy club and a mixed arts show in his hometown, Berkhamsted UK – where he lives with his wife and children’s author, Sue Hampton.

Leslie describes himself as male/intermediate (similar to Eddie Izzard and Grayson Perry) and is quite comfortable with any pronoun as long as it isn’t rude!

Books by Leslie Tate

Violet (Lavender Blues) Paperback Blue (Lavender Blues) Paperback Purple (Lavender Blues) Paperback Heaven's Rage Kindle Edition

You can find Leslie Tate’s books here: Leslie Tate Amazon Author Page

I have read and enjoyed Heaven’s Rage. You can read my review here: Amazon review: Heaven’s Rage


HEAVEN’S RAGE is an imaginative autobiography. Reporting on feelings people don’t usually own up to, Leslie Tate explores addiction, cross-dressing and the hidden sides of families. Writing lyrically, he brings together stories of bullying, childhood dreams, thwarted creativity and late-life illness, discovering at their core the transformative power of words to rewire the brain and reconnect with life. A Robin Red breast in a Cage / Puts all Heaven in a Rage — William Blake

32 thoughts on “#PoetryReadathon – Extinction Rebellion, London Occupation, a poem by Leslie Tate

  1. Wow. That’s powerful, Robbie. Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t aware of Leslie’s work before. I think I’ll have to check it out. It was wonderful to hear Leslie explaining and reading the poem too.

    Liked by 1 person

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