Llenyddiaeth | Literature

A Moment of your Time – a verbatim poem by Emily Hinshelwood

All the lines in the poem were responses to my questions on Climate Change from people I met as I walked across Wales.


Fog. Fug. Smog

Cough. Smother. Choke

The planet in nasty grey-blue smoke from

factories with chimneys, from scratching out coal;

big lumps of ice falling off the North Pole, so the

sea levels rise,

the polar bear dies

the Houses of Parliament tip, then capsize.

Whole blinkin’ islands wiped off the map

and over here…. the summers are crap

it’s been pissing for weeks now, the drain’s overflowing

and the sparrows don’t know if they’re coming or going

the daffodil blooms  – then he shivers with cold

we do our recycling – we do what we’re told

but the haycrop’s all ruined, the riverbank’s burst –

d’you know

since I’ve recycled, it’s only got worse

hurricanes, tsunamis, the wreck of the land

and everyone everywhere with their heads in the sand –


me on a deckchair – with my head in the sand.

Me – with a bacardi breezer,

suntanned – with my head in the sand

while the desert expands.


Dust. Thirst. Dry

Crops. Wilt. Die

Kids like sticks

African villages starve

but that won’t stop me from driving my car!

There’s so many people – we’ve all got bad habits

and countries where women are breeding like rabbits

and building more factories and digging more coal

and more and more ice falls off the north pole

so the water goes higher and we get more rain

and the desert moves further up into Spain.

But we do our recycling we do what we’re asked

it’s a blue bag for plastics and a green bin for glass

We separate cardboard, we clean out our pots


but how do we know they don’t landfill the lot?

Cos it’s not getting better, the seasons are screwed

the poor little bees just don’t know what to do

there’s Cameron on his bike – bla bla bla

with his briefcase coming after in his diplomatic car.

We know what we’re doing – we can’t seem to stop and

Society says – Don’t think – JUST SHOP!

So we buy more gadgets to plug in the wall

that need more electric that burns more coal

till the last lump of ice falls off the North Pole

and there’s more freak weather

and London’s drowned

and we knock up more houses on much higher ground

and we pour more concrete and we build more roads

and we keep our borders resolutely closed

till food is so dear and there’s nothing to eat

and it’s our grandchildren – like sticks – begging in the street.

Then – maybe then – we’ll stop

park the car

unplug the x-box

we’ll learn a bit of self-control

and then

maybe then

we’ll stop digging up coal



Emily Hinshelwood is a poet, playwright, tutor, desk-top publisher and performer.

Em at station

Following the route of the Heart of Wales line, I walk through villages, towns and countryside and my rule is that I ask everyone I meet my three questions.

So, I have met all sorts of people, from 8 year olds to 80 year olds, from pilots to gravediggers, from men drunk by the side of the river, to prison wardens having a quick fag outside jail.

One reason for doing it is simply to begin conversations about climate change. I am amazed at how many people start the conversation by saying they know nothing about climate change  – “you’d be better off talking to someone else” – and end up surprising themselves by talking at great length and in substantial detail about it. I feel that having conversations, and thus verbalising our fears, concerns, ideas, skepticism etc is at the heart of finding solutions. Without vocalising our own thoughts, without experimenting with climate change vocabulary, and digging into our personal reflections I feel that the process of readjusting our lifestyles will be particularly painful and isolating.


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