Extinction Rebellion, London Occupation
(With acknowledgments to Adlestrop, Edward Thomas)
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
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
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