Guest writer: Ben Bristol, England
The Age of Anxiety
We’re all vying for our own individual fight against dying,
While all lying awake trapped in our fear and the trying.
Our attempts to ignore the statistics of fear,
As the chauvinistic-ultra-nationalism rears
It’s ugly head.
Apprehensively we are led,
To the twenty four hour feeds
As our trepidation tripled, leads
To a system seized up.
The promise of globalisation’s trickle down
A smokescreen of austerity broken now.
And so the hoax goes on!
A decade post 08 crisis fears
And trillions in stimulus is what once more we hear.
Are these corporate billionaires anywhere near
The pain and suffering that we’re
All globally facing here?!
Political puppets do as their lobbied:
Bolster destructive industry
In the face of ecological misery.
The stock crashed numbers
From our everyday sweat and tears,
Fodder for bloated banker bonuses
As the holes once more appear.
Larger than before:
Infinite growth at an edge so sheer.
The cancer of our savage system, painfully clear.
Like the sky one minute
Before the hale begins.
Let us not forget what extremes we are in.
Pre-virus – the flooding, the fires, the winds
Of change they are coming
What hope can they bring?
For as a clap of thunder follows a strike of lightning
For a moment we are paralysed, the fear all too frightening
As we each pause and question our cause and core.
This uncertainty shakes up what we assumed was in store?
These turbulent times
These haphazard rhymes
These happenings a sign?
What’s our agreed global line?
Will love dominate and kindness prevail?
Will our international internet finally avail;
Create connection and consciousness not merely assail,
As from cultural addiction our commonality can unveil.
For so far we’re not so wise after all,
As all this destruction has been our collective call;
And now we must decide how the empire falls!
Is it time to divorce from diets that provide these viruses their doors?
It could have been stalled…
Can we graduate from our oily addictions, our convenience lore,
Stop manufactured afflictions and our economic need for more war?
As we are assuaged with consumption
Comatose for the coins,
They sell us stuff we don’t need
Capitalise on our loins.
The screen digits we seek,
More and more of our smartphones each week.
Dumbing us down, embedding the frown.
Cars, houses, babies, receipts.
Working hours minimally waged
As an amoral and greedy elite…
The manufacture, the destruction
The exploitation, the extraction
Profit over people and planet-
Business as usual.
Planetary exploitation paper trailed in green notes
Our individualism hacked now such meaningless votes
As in these lives lived unspoken
It’s our collectivism they’ve broken.
And in this age of anxiety
Can we turn around the shame in society?
In this age of anxiety
Can we propel hope throughout society?!
Will you awaken to your meaning, your art?
Stand tall and stoke the fire in your heart!
For these lands that we share
We are one and all care,
This changing wind in our hair
Will show us all that the power is there.
As in her trees we remember to engender hope,
Grow branches, plant seeds that evoke
Love for our neighbour no matter what colour or creed
For like the dappled autumnal leaves
We all shall one day fall and recede
Back into the land our bodies worm feed.
As the cycles move in circles
So must our common unity.
For we are all one in our caring continuity.
Can we now cooperate collectively
And create a conscious global community?
For we burn brightest as stars
Caught in clustered constellations.
And after this pandemic of panic
Permeates then passes.
Our populations can no longer remain static,
And for all families and friends it will be tragic.
But that love we all share in our hearts is the magic.
And the greed in the world cannot withstand it!
The antidote to death in life is acceptance
The fuel for our hearts, love and remembrance
For from such chaos we are somehow born
And from such darkness a new day will dawn.
View Ben’s live recording of this poem: