National Poetry Month: Writing Wild, Day 20

In November of 2019, when the world still felt normal, I hosted a baby shower for my son and daughter-in-law. Wildfires were raging through Australia, and news reports were dire about the impact on wildlife, especially koalas. I remember saying to my cousin that I couldn’t imagine my granddaughter growing up in a world without koalas.

Today’s featured author is Saci Lloyd, whose novels imagine a world that is missing much more than koalas. Lloyd is a British teacher and writer of “cli-fi,” a genre that has “sprung from the ticking clock of climate change and explores the consequences of a warming planet.” (Aalto, p. 197). Written for teens, Lloyd’s books The Carbon Diaries 2015 (2009) and The Carbon Diaries 2017 (2010) are “a wonderfully mordant look at the coming environmental ­meltdown“. Lloyd explained her approach to Kathryn Aalto this way: “The urban kids I teach…have no upbringing in nature and so the humor is the bridge to get them there to care.” (Writing Wild, p. 199)

Writing a poem inspired by Lloyd’s work was quite a challenge. I desperately want people to care, but recognize the danger of being didactic. In the end, I opted for another Golden Shovel, using the end of this quote as my strike line. It may be didactic, but it’s the truth.

“Climate change is a massive issue. I believe we are a brilliant species. If we can do the things we’ve done already, we can fix this too.

Saci Lloyd, from ClimateMagic

The question was never if.
Glaciers are melting, fires are blazing. We
(well, some of us) simply choose to ignore reality. Can
we muster the will to act? We must do
whatever our battered planet needs to heal. The
survival of countless species is at stake. Things
are at a tipping point. We’ve
wasted too much time already.
Damage has been done
to the air, the water, the land. But we
are resilient; we’ve met challenges in the past. We can
rise to this challenge, too. We can fix
what needs fixing. Create and innovate. We made this
mess. Now it’s time to clean it up, before it’s too


Draft © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Saci Lloyd

Previous Writing Wild posts:

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper
Day 3: Gene Stratton-Porter
Day 4: Mary Austin
Day 5: Vita Sackville-West
Day 6: Nan Shepherd
Day 7: Rachel Carson
Day 8: Mary Oliver
Day 9: Carolyn Merchant
Day 10: Annie Dillard
Day 11: Gretel Ehrlich
Day 12: Leslie Marmon Silko
Day 13: Diane Ackerman
Day 14: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Day 15: Lauret Savoy
Day 16: Rebecca Solnit
Day 17: Kathleen Jamie
Day 18: Carolyn Finney
Day 19: Helen Macdonald

13 thoughts on “National Poetry Month: Writing Wild, Day 20

  1. I am completely amazed by this poem. Not just the content, which is great! I am amazed that you took that line and made a poem from it using those words at the ends of the lines. I thought the nonette you did last year–a form I tried to use to write a poem for someone I care about–was hard–I’m no poet, for sure. But this one is an amazing feat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, Catherine. I, as you probably are, am worried for my grandchildren, do not understand why we cannot make the changes so needed. It feels as if the US has stood still for far too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think this is didactic so much as it is desperate. We need to be. We need to feel viscerally like we are gasping for breath…because we are.

    Like Julianne, I admire the craft of your poem. That last line, its placement…perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Day 1: Dorothy WordsworthDay 2: Susan Fenimore CooperDay 3: Gene Stratton-PorterDay 4: Mary AustinDay 5: Vita Sackville-WestDay 6: Nan ShepherdDay 7: Rachel CarsonDay 8: Mary OliverDay 9: Carolyn MerchantDay 10: Annie DillardDay 11: Gretel EhrlichDay 12: Leslie Marmon SilkoDay 13: Diane AckermanDay 14: Robin Wall KimmererDay 15: Lauret SavoyDay 16: Rebecca SolnitDay 17: Kathleen JamieDay 18: Carolyn FinneyDay 19: Helen MacdonaldDay 20: Saci Lloyd […]


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