i I saw a dead child today, in rubble, on TV; his cold blue hand - meanwhile she burns, weeping, the mother city eòin iarainn, a' leigeil dubh-shìl, an nimh is fuath (iron birds, scatter their blackseed, their hate-laden poison) Iverie year it’s getting waur: old men and your ancient feuds, empires still drilling for gas and oil, your false promise of eternal growth. Whit the hell dae ye mean, expecting us to accept the unacceptable? No peace. Do the ghosts of children haunt you in your sleep? You're never more important than our children's laughter. We demand a warld oor weans and weans' weans can bide in: no gates, no watchtowers, no fences, no walls. - Your cold hard eyes, and cold hearts: let them go. Forget your egos. In the depths of darkness heed your guiding stars, your hearts, be servants to this wee blue speck whirling through outer darkness. Its woods are hushed, the silence terrifying; a broken world... The creatures won't come to our cities to plead elephants, polar bears, worms, honey bees... Listen to the breath of the whale tangled in net. You fail our planet. ii I look through my soul's window, searching for hope. I am done with apologies. Some days we are stones, more often the leaf that blows. Listen: pause, breathe in, breathe out, shhh. Listen: a harmony of voices sounds a refrain: 'What a world we could create, if we allowed ourselves to dream.' iii I look at the sky and see geese flying above the mountains. I wish everyone could see this instead of bombs flying over. You, your heads up in the clouds, drones and bombs there too - you are flesh and blood, same as us, not above or below. The morning wind is bitter. Do you care? Forced migrations should lead to refuge, a welcoming home, solace in a new embrace. The children of the world should laugh and play, not placed in a communal grave. Explain yourselves. Your words stick in oor craw. Ban wars, famine, suicide bombers end poverty: hud awa wi yur rockets. We have enough here for all. Only with peace can there be justice. iv You may not know my face, the sma' fowk We are the ordinary people. We can only watch. All we have is hammer and hurt, we are thumb and nail. You are the world's leaders, we are the Unimpressed. We're aw wee sauls, hairts brekin.. Ye hae nae dane as ye ought. You can do better than this. v 'Blessed are the peacemakers', seo crìonadh sìth, (this withering peace) There is no courage in hatred or revenge so still your breath and listen: can you hear the river's call? Sky and sea must be shared and free. We are watching you and we will remember. Trust is a revolutionary act. One act of kindness from each of us would be enough. Wir auld warls's deein You let this happen. Let's create a dream vision. Let the world be born anew.
About this poem
This poem was curated by Scotland’s makar Kathleen Jamie in November 2023 from over 400 individual entries from the people of Scotland for a collective poem to address conflict and the consequences of the climate catastrophe.