Research and Poetry

Prize winning Nottingham poet, Gail Webb, was inspired by my research described in my blog article for COP 26. is This poem, “ Harvesting The Light” came out of a collaborative project designed to start conversations between poets and scientists to combat or change the effects of climate change.

To find out more visit the Hot Poets.

Harvesting The Light

Plants. I know about these.
They grow in my garden,
in planters on city streets,
sneak into verges,
never discreet. They thrust and sow
through cracks in pavements, or
around the front door,
wherever we go, they grow.

Remember school? We plant seeds,
one each in a paper cup,
press in with a finger,
into damp earth where nature
lingers. Watch it reach for the bright
touch of sun’s honey drips.
Some water, some time,
shoots peek out, thirsty for light.

We cultivate tomatoes, herbs,
on a windowsill. We try
to connect to food sources,
see magic before our eyes.
Nature’s forces form leaves, buds glow,
flourish into the next Spring;
we wait for a taste of summer,
crops sing as they grow, they grow.

In patterns plants reveal mysteries,
capillaries pump in life,
sinews stretch towards sun
blackberries ripen on vines,
ducking heads in broad-leafed shade;
apple trees live side by side
with wheat crops nodding in fields
ready to feed us. The future is made.

We dash from work to home,
want new growth, new ways,
aware of struggles to feed families.
Earth still warms up by degrees
heats farms, factories. Food in forests
is what we need. Almonds, apricots,
cherries let’s get them on our plates.
Farmers, governments unite with scientists.

Plants. They turn to us now.
Will we allow them room
to spread, to photosynthesise,
to arch upwards,
to rise like a cathedral roof
towards skies? Is there a plan
mapped out in their veins,
to reverse effects of climate change?

Something clever, seasonal, waterproof.
Plants are their own design, formed
in wind, by wavelengths red, blue, green,
into curly, upright, varied shapes
between canopies which absorb pollution.
They coexist with trees, multiply fruit,
cereals, vegetables, all we need.
At last, a peaceful revolution.


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