Return to site


· Haiku

The UK went into lockdown late spring 2020 and, like many people, I was stunned by the peaceful skies. (Shouldn't there be a verb, something like revelated? 'To receive a revelation') It felt wonderful, like returning to a halcyon pre-jet age world. Transporting, please forgive the pun. Don't get me wrong - I love attending airshows with buddies, and generally if we apes can push the limits of technology further, I think we should do it.

But this felt good. The sudden stillness.

Behold the quiet skies
No jet-trail highways aloft
Dormant world - for now

This respite for wildlife and the oceans, it's temporary of course. We're committed now to inflicting millennia of climate collapse upon ourselves and our descendants. The loss of Greenland's ice sheet and the Antarctic sheets will raise sea levels by sixty-five metres, and, speaking as a former climatologist, I'd be surprised if we didn't see a good fraction of that during our lifetimes.

We have perverse incentives: Russian wants the arctic oil, and an all-year-round naval base on it's coast, and to turn the tundra into productive land. All the developing nations will want cars, computers and fighter jets.

But, putting aside the virus for a second, maybe we can just allow ourselves to enjoy the tranquility of this moment.

Enjoying stillness
Let the day gather its breath
You hear the silence?

I wasn't creating these haiku in isolation. My friend Joseph and I were each writing two daily, and exchanging them every evening:

Twice daily delight
Scintillating syllables
Exchanged from afar