UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Polar Bears Weren’t Really White: a poem by Cameron Holleran

6 October 2020

IGP's Poet in Residence, Cameron Holleran responds to the WWF's Living Planet Report on biodiversity loss

Paint splash image

This is not an obituary, though I’ll write one for every
polar bear whose floe I’ve stolen writing prose
and poesy, dying at a speed of 10km/h (adult, swimming)
as I type (one letter at a time) on a miracle machine
that would be useless as a raft. Today I’ve learned of eight animals
I never knew existed till they didn’t – don’t ask about the fungi.
The world is cruel and beautiful
and both those things mean nothing if we’re dead.

This is not an obituary, even if it seems that work
on this beautiful mausoleum is soon to be complete – ornate and plastic,
filled with one kind of banana. Has anybody hid their dead,
half so splendidly? I have only seen parts of it, yellow and sweet,
which I love as much as the next hominid, if there is one. I’m getting marble
planters on my balcony, fighting back with bushes, an army of acacias, honey
aroma from their golden buds keep me at the ready.

This is not an obituary but we might not have strawberries soon.
If Wimbledon is ruined, is there any point in living? Billionaires
might be running football clubs badly to keep a lot of people
distracted at the weekends but the thought of a world
without coffee is enough to keep me up at night –
if I could bottle that, the loss
would hurt less, there’d be football clubs to ruin. Love all
might just be our ticket out of here.

This is not an obituary, yet.

Read the Living Planet Report on the WWF website

Image credit: Jr Korpa on Unsplash