Poet Laureate Tackles Climate Change and Copenhagen Conference

turtle doves.photo

Image from www.dpchallenge.com

The Twelve Days of Christmas is supposed to be a pleasant little Christmas song about the lovely gifts that "my true love gave to me." But in the hands, or is that pen, of the new and first female Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, it has become a raging blast at the injustices and grim events of the year, including this week's conference on climate change and the war in Afghanistan.

Hardly a hymn of Christmas cheer, she starts with "On the first day of Christmas, a buzzard on a branch. In Afghanistan, no partridge, pear tree; but my true love sent to me a card from home." The last day deals with the conference in Copenhagen, suggesting that world leaders should take heed of the 12 drummers drumming a warning of environmental disaster.

poet laureate.photo

Image from the Daily Mail

The Poet Laureate is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Government and has the job of writing poems to commemorate major state occasions and royal events. After taking up the post, Miss Duffy said she would ignore royal events if they did not inspire her. For her efforts she will receive "a butt of sack", equivalent today to 477 litres of Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry and an annual honorarium of £5,750. She gave this away to the Poetry Society for use as a prize.to write.

Usually laureates stay away from political topics and stick to sweeter stuff. However she has ignored this tradition and come out strongly in this piece.

The second verse, Two Turtle Doves:

that Shakespeare loved -
turr turr, turr turr -
endangered now
by herbicide,
the chopping down
of where they hide -
turr turr, turr turr -
hawthorn thickets,
hedgerows, woodland.
Summer's music
fainter, farther...
the spreading drought
of the Sahara.

last day.photo

Image from en.wikipedia.org

However it is the last one that is right on theme for this week's COP15.
banging their warning?
On the twelfth day in Copenhagen
was global warming stopped in its tracks
by Brown and Barack and Hu Jintao,
by Meles Zenawi and Al Sabban,
by Yvo de Boer and Hedegaard?
Did they strike a match
or strike a bargain,
the politicos in Copenhagen?
Did they twiddle their thumbs?
Or hear the drums
and hear the drums
and hear the drums?

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