Background to writing the poem UNINHABITABLE
I spent three weeks in Germany in the last two weeks of October and the first week of November 2022. I taught two five-day retreats at the Waldhaus Zentrum, 15 minutes from Andernach, about an hour or so from Bonn. I offered the final session of the Mindfulness Teacher Training Course (MTTC) at the Pauenhof Zetnrum, about an hour from Dusseldorf in northwest Germany.
After the first two retreats, I had a five-day personal retreat at Waldhaus with the daily support of the kind staff. In the silence of the room, a poem on the state of the Earth developed and took form. Thoughts about such a poem had been circulating within for some time as faith in the Paris, Glasgow and Cairo climate agreements diminished. I got up in the middle of every night jotting down key words and phrases. These then formed into lines, verses and sections. Polishing and editing of the poem continued upon arrival home.
Incidentally, the night hours offer a precious period for spontaneous moments of inspiration, fresh ideas and insights. Let me add the Buddha would agree. He experienced his Night of Enlightenment, not a Day of Enlightenment. The thought arose of offering a Night Retreat in Germany. I am curious if there is interest in the Sangha of Meditators!
A student of economics, Kye, 21, my grandson, does much of his university research/writing during the night. He recently returned from New York City having been awarded a seat in a worldwide competition to attend an all-expenses paid, four-day international conference of undergraduate students in economics and business with top business executives. Organised by Business Today. Kye speaks highly of the benefit of personal night studies.
In 1922, T.S. Eliot, the English poet, wrote The Waste Land, often regarded as the finest poem in the English language of the 20th century. His poem runs to 434 lines. In my book, The Green Buddha written in 1992-1993, I wrote a commentary on Elliot’s poem – a critique on decay, destruction and the emptiness of spiritual awareness. Uninhabitable mirrors some themes of The Waste Land. Uninhabitable also runs to 434 lines. It is not a coincidence.
My trust in politicians/current democracy, the corporate world, media and consumers slowly seeps away like water in the palm of the hand. Grassroot activists, deep thinkers, spiritually consciousness, agents of change, independent journalists, progressive economists, organisers, organic farmers, caring scientists, ethical businesses, writers, artists, photographers and filmmakers point the way to radical change out of compassion for the Earth, humanity and other creatures.
Far too many humans have traumatised the Earth. The elements of the Earth kick back. We witness the Earth element (droughts/tremors), air element (storms/pollution), heat/fire element (climate change) and water/floods element increasing year by year.
UNINHABITABLE. A Long Poetic Critique on our Long Lasting Omnicrisis
You can find the full poem on my blog.
Titles of the Sections of the Poem
Who is Responsible?
An Experience of Enviro-mental Life
As Creatures fly to the Unknown
Winter Chills breathe down our Neck