Climate crisis themes of change, justice and action are captured in Poemathon with Older People 2022

28th April 2022

The Poemathon with Older People, which captures the thoughts and imaginings of older people right now in society, has been unveiled today (28 April 2022) as part of Poetry Day Ireland.

The collaborative poem features 183 contributors from across the island of Ireland and is an initiative organised by Poetry Ireland with the Global Brain Health Institute (Trinity College Dublin) and Creative Brain Week. During March 2022, the project invited older people to write a line of poetry on the theme of climate crisis.

Former President of Ireland and Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice at Trinity College Dublin, Mary Robinson, penned the opening line of the poem: Growing up we did not know; now we need to mend

Mary Robinson said, “It’s wonderful to see the Poemathon with Older People focusing on the climate crisis as its theme and bringing together the voices of an older generation through the shared experience of creating a poem. As we get older, we think more often about our legacy and picture the world that will be inherited by the next generations.”

Seamus Cashman, who curated and edited the poem, said, “Participants responded with vigour, echoing the realities, fears, hopes, and confusions we all might experience when contemplating or indeed experiencing some of the issues the climate crisis presents us with day-to-day, and which will shape the future of our children’s and grandchildren’s generations.

“Lines received confront the hard realities of our present complicated economic and political world with such thoughts as: ‘We cannot hide behind what’s truth. It’s foolish to pretend’; ‘We know we have caused it – let us act now and pause it’; ‘Free our aspirations from the traps of repetition’; ‘Every carbon footprint is huge, reduce it’. In a wonderful way, a powerful closing line surfaced to resolve the closing verse. Poetic in concept, and gloriously challenging with ambiguity and metaphor, the line reads: ‘In your arms, what is the shape of hope, Dreamer?’”

Read the poem
The completed poem is available to read in this PDF and a 'micro version' can also be enjoyed PDF.

Take a look at our short video below featuring just a few of the 183 contributors who came together for this collective project.