23 June 2008

No Oil

I’ve posted here previously about our dependence on oil, and how to start addressing it. There’s a story in Transported, "Homestay", which touches on the same theme — though, being fiction, it also includes people with wings flying around rural Southland, which I don’t actually expect to be a prominent feature of post-Peak Oil scenarios.

Here’s my one attempt, so far, to tackle the topic in poetry. “No Oil” was first published in Southern Ocean Review (together with “Replicant”), and is included in All Blacks’ Kitchen Gardens.


No Oil

Bad news from the north
and the queues growing longer.
Late winter, I remember,
when the shipments ceased.

There was still oil for some
which showed
where power intersected with need:
Agriculture.
The rich.
Ministerial limousines.

The rest of us walking,
riding bikes, taking trains,
living
as our grandparents had:
valuing land
for what it can grow.

A Great Leap Forwards
in reverse
our faith now
in the wisdom of the old.

The world to the north
turns to poison
a battle
of each against all.

Here we cling on
in the ruins of a false economy
doing to others
being done unto
looking back with angry eyes
on a century of waste.


(If the “shipments from the north” ceased right now, we could meet about 2/3 of New Zealand’s present oil demand from domestic production — but that’s unusually high at the moment because of the exploitation of the Tui field, and there’s no guarantee that production levels will stay this high for long.)

2 comments:

aaron.stewart said...

I like the lines,

'valuing land
for what it can grow'

a lot.

Kay said...

I like that there are strange people flying all over rural Southland! ;)