The Great Renewal


Feet are alive
with first frost!
The morning sun sinks
into grateful faces,
winter-stiffened limbs:
all “Mind” washed

The budding trees speak Bird!
Feeding fledglings revivify
the bushes with bird busyness,
a Song on the wind:
the Miracle of another

Our prisoners
can feel this too:
the restless stirring,
(though they cannot turn;)
the desperate longing,
though they have not known,
in the endless Darkness,
in the air-tight, pain-filled barns;
though they have eyes to see
(the odd glint
coming through the slats,)
though they have ears to hear
the blessèd burgeoning.

Those who will never
enjoy the day.
Those who will never
feel the warm caress,
who will never
roll in dew, taste rain,
or the freedom
of a wild wood;
who will know only
one type of blade;
who have only violent death
to look forward to.

Out on the last of England’s
green and pleasant land
the lambs who have made it
through the tough, Dartmoor night,
suckle and gambol.

We coo over
(and would feed,
and would cuddle)
those newborn lambs
who fill the grasslands
like so many muddy

Our hearts reach out
to the unsteady orphans
on the Evening News,
the little black loner,
(yet barely think of
their dead mothers,)
while the factual farmer
assures us that they are all
fattening nicely
for the Easter/Passover
blood bath that will follow
in three weeks’ time.

We buy our spikes
of rosemary, new potatoes,
petit pois, Spring greens,
and refuse to connect
…the dots –
as DIY chefs prepare
to roast the living,
and human stomachs
rumble greedily
at the very thought
…of pink flesh.

When will we wake up?
When will we finally wake up?

I have given you
every plant yielding seed
which is upon the face
of all the earth,
and every tree
with seed in its fruit;
you shall have them
for food.”

As it was
in the Beginning
(Genesis 1:29)
…so shall it be in
The End.


Heidi Stephenson
Illustration: Claire Palmer


First published on International Times on 13 March 2021

The Great Renewal

By Heidi Stephenson

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One Response to The Great Renewal

    1. Each time I read Ms. Stephenson my thoughts focus on a multitude of subjects.
      This time I remain incredulous that many people still eat the dead flesh of numerous creatures
      (on a daily basis).
      They can’t be thinking very deeply about what they are doing?
      And to gaze at Claire Palmer’s illustration is mesmerizing and its message is eery ( Inspiring inexplicable fear, dread, or uneasiness)
      when you understand where those lambs are heading.
      The biblical quote — “…given you every plant yielding seed” reminds me of my life’s work-
      an herb that bears no viable seed (so loved by it’s consumers) but used to.
      Traditional plant based medicine here in the tropical Pacific to relieve stresses, maybe even fear and dread, of the day.
      The kava plant or ‘awa in Hawai’i.

      Comment by Edward P Johnston on 17 March, 2021 at 6:33 pm

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