Tag Archives: climate change is real

The Sun Parrots Are Late This Year

by Ian McDonald

The great forests of the world are burning down;
far away in Amazon they burn,
far beyond our eyes the trees are cut
and cleared and heaped and fired.
Ashes fill the rivers for miles and miles;
the rivers are stained with the blood of mighty trees.
Great rivers are brothers of great forests
and immense clouds shadowing the rose-lit waters
are cousins of this tribe of the earth-gods.
Under the ancient watch of the stars
all should be secure and beautiful forever,
dwarfing man, generation after generation after generation,
inspiring man, feeding him with dreams and strength.
But over there it is not so; man is giant
and the forest dwindles; it will soon be nothing –
shrubs sprouting untidily in scorched black earth.
The sun will burn the earth, before now shadowed
for a hundred thousand years, dark and dripping,
hiding jewelled insects and thick-veined plants,
blue-black orchids with white hearts, red macaws,
the green lace of ferns, gold butterflies, opal snakes.
Everything shrivels and dust begins to blow;
it is as if acid was poured on the silken land.

It is far from here now, but it is coming nearer.
Those who love forests also are cut down.
This month, this year, we may not suffer;
the brutal way things are, it will come.
Already the cloud patterns are different each year.
The winds blow from new directions,
the rain comes earlier, beats down harder,
or it is dry when the pastures thirst.
In this dark, overarching Essequibo forest,
I walk near the shining river on the green paths
cool and green as melons laid in running streams.

I cannot imagine all the forests going down,
the great black hogs not snouting for the pulp of fruit,
all this beauty and power and shining life gone.
But in far, once emerald, Amazon the forest dies
by fire, fiercer than bright axes.
The roar of the wind in trees is sweet,
reassuring; the heavens stretch far and bright
above the loneliness of mist-shrouded forest trails,
and there is such a feel of softness in the evening air.
Can it be that all of this will go, leaving the clean-boned land?
I wonder if my children’s children, come this way,
will see the great forest spread green and tall and far
as it spreads now far and green for me.
Is it my imagination that the days are furnace-hot,
the sun-parrots late or not come at all this year?

 

***

Ian McDonald is a Guyanese poet and writer of fiction (such as Caribbean classic The Hummingbird Tree) with Antiguan roots. This timely and urgent poem is reprinted here with his permission.

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Carib Plus Lit News (Late September 2019)

The Caribbean Writer has announced its Volume 32 prize winnersTCW-Cover-VOL-32-2

Prizes include The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize of $400 for best short fiction; The Daily News Prize of $500 to a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands; The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize of $500 to a new or emerging writer; The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize of $500 to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean; The Vincent Cooper Literary Prize of $300 to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language; and The Boyce Literary Prize of $500 to a Caribbean author for a work that best expresses the changing social dynamics of regional life. Not listed is the David Hough Literary Prize which is awarded this year for the final time. See who won. Congrats to the various winners.

Bahamas Post-Dorian; Let’s Talk Climate Change

The Bahamas still needs our help. As we know, it took a pounding from hurricane Dorian

The concern for us in the Caribbean is more than the immediate storms and the aftermath – devastating as that all is – but the ever-rising climate change impacts. Climate change is real – we who feel it know it – and the time for denial is over. Hurricanes have always been with us so believe us when we say (from 2017 on when Irma and Maria laid waste to the region including our own Barbuda) this is different – the frequency, the ferocity, the relentlessness, the heat, the storms, this isn’t normal – or if we don’t act, this will be our new normal and we won’t all survive it.

“We Bahamians listen to climate deniers in rich countries who are oblivious or indifferent to those who bear the weight for their wonderful lives. Meanwhile, the water rises from the ground in our yards because the water table is so high during high tide, and plants we once depended upon no longer grow. We experience too much rain or too little rain, and fresh water supplies are increasingly contaminated by rising sea levels.” Read more of  Hurricane Dorian Makes Bahamians the Latest Climate-Crisis Victims 

The article might make you cry as it gives you a visceral sense of the experience of those trapped on islands besieged by Dorian (another name retired from future Caribbean baby registries), but it also prescribes action and that’s what I wanted to share:

“So we mobilize. We call on the United States to pass the Green New Deal. We donate to groups like Head Knowles*. We consider how to gather volunteers and Bahamian mental health workers to deploy in the coming days. But we need everyone’s help and kindness. We need tarps, tents, sleeping bags, batteries, flashlights, heavy equipment, generators, chain saws, electrical workers and people capable of rebuilding communication towers and homes. We need nonperishable food, wipes, adult and children’s diapers, bug spray.

We need lots of things, but please — no tossed paper towels. This is not funny. Though gracious, Bahamians may toss them back to you.”

Through the Caribbean writers network, I have been informed that the Head Knowles Foundation is a women’s run community organization with hundreds on the ground and a track record – the message provided information on their South Florida drop-off point for those in the area:

Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport:
Headknowles Foundation c/o
Tropix Express
5610 NW 12th Avenue
Suite 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
info@tropixshipping.com

The Foundation also has a Go Fund Me for money to assist with the relocation of people who have lost their homes, rescue planes, boats, and cars, and for teams who need to go back and forth from Abaco/Grand Bahama to Nassau to safety. The foundation can supply information about their 501c status etc. if you are a “big donor”.

Caribbean Books Online

Anansesem, the online Caribbean children’s lit magazine, has revamped its online bookstore. It is organized by country (here’s Antigua and Barbuda) Founder Summer Edward wrote on The Brown Bookshelf about the process.

“The most distinctive thing, however, about the new Anansesem Online Bookstore is that it carries only ‘own voices’ books. You may be unfamiliar with the term ‘own voices.’ Coined by Dutch YA author Corinne Duyvis in 2015, it’s a term that’s now widely used in the publishing world to refer to books for which the protagonist and the author share a historically marginalized racial or cultural identity. The need for the term ‘own voices’ as a distinguishing marker arose due to the long history, in traditional publishing, of majority-group authors being given free rein to write books depicting minority group characters, and the equally long history of minority-group writers not being given the same kind of access to tell their own stories…Indeed, there are drawbacks to searching/shopping for Caribbean children’s and YA books directly on websites like Amazon.com. Amazon.com doesn’t tell you which Caribbean CYA books displayed on its search results pages are own voices books. Also, Amazon’s search engine isn’t optimized for finding CYA books from specific Caribbean countries; for example, if you search for ‘Jamaican children’s books’ on Amazon.com, you’ll get a lot of irrelevant results including (for some reason) textbooks (lots of them) and cookbooks. Likewise, if you search for ‘Caribbean children’s books’ directly on Amazon’s website, their search results will show you a lot of CYA books from South and Central America, which while wonderful to know about, aren’t Caribbean books, and thus aren’t what you’re looking for.”

I’ve added the bookstore to the Caribbean Literary Resources page here on the blog. Thanks to Summer for this Wadadli Pen shout out in her article: “Anansesem contributor Joanne C. Hillhouse’s comprehensive blog, Wadadli Pen, was an extremely helpful resource for confirming the nationalities of authors of CYA books related to Antigua and Barbuda.”

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, its Spanish language edition Perdida! , and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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