IGP Stories

Till the end of the Earth

Cameron Holleran

27 February 2023

A poem written by IGP's Poet-in-Residence Cameron Holleran, in response to Professor Henrietta Moore's recent lecture at Keele World Affairs on "Regenerative Agriculture: A Global Solution."

As a child, you caked dirt beneath smiling fingernails,
filthy cuticles swarming with life. Even crawling on your belly,
dirt is not your diet but odd mouthfuls made their way onto the menu.
In giddiness your cheeks tighten, showing the world the ground in your smile.

Your grinding teeth sound louder with your headphones on,
eyes flicking back and forth your laptop screen
following the presenter of a flashy live stream:

We at AgriEcoGreen (formerly Monsanto) feel really bad
about the way that we destroyed your land,
shall we tell you how to make it better?
So, we’ve have been working really hard since it turns out we need a planet too!
We can save the soil with some special seeds,
we can set you up on our subscription plan and if you can’t afford it
we can introduce you to our philanthropic friends, there’s no gatekeeping here!
There are some Ts & Cs of course:

our seeds are infertile;
we’ll send the army in if you work out how to make your own.

    but what’s a small coup between friends of the earth? [he throws up a peace sign]

    There is almost a sonic boom when you slam the lid,
    in the stillness your eyes linger on manicured frowns,
    your fingertips flex without a thought or spurred
    perhaps by memories of mud.Those soil patches,
    if not buried under concrete, lie far more sterile now.

    There is work to do, knees to dirty, mouths to feed,
    hands to feel and touch and fight and plant and pull and prune,
    rests to take beneath the shade with children
    who wear your soil-smile and reach for you with clod-gloved hands.

    Cameron is a non-binary Mancunian poet who is a part of the Barbican Young Poet and Burn After Reading collectives. Their work centres on gender, mental health and class. Performance highlights include the Walthamstow Garden Party, Tate Modern and Southbank Centre, along with a commissioned recording for the Wellcome Trust. More details can be found at their website: https://cameronholleran.com.

    Image Credit: Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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