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2 poems by Alison Lock

1816. ‘The Year without Summer’.

On Mr Turner’s canvas the sun sets

sap green, cadmium yellow, smudge-umber.

Mount Tambor’s magma has risen, molten

ash and dust block out the sun. Mary Shelley

incubates her Frankenstein as spectres roam

the ruined fields, crops rust. There is no harvest.

The call to revolt is ‘Bread or Blood!’

As snow falls in flakes of burnt sienna

the artist’s pallet records a climate cursed.

2019. Summer.

It is hard to believe

in extinction

but here we are


in slow grief

to watch tulips

in gardens

open their cups

to the burning sun

as we drive by

on a highway

turning down

the drone

to discern

the melody

of songbirds.


Alison Lock is a poet and writer of short fiction. Her latest collection of poetry, Revealing the Odour of Earth, is published by Calder Valley Press. Her work focuses on the relationship of humans and the environment, connecting an inner world with an exploration of land and sea.


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