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Resisting a Road

I’ve been really enjoying recently making connections with other local groups that Norwich Writers Rebel can collaborate with (Writers Rebel is the writing arm of Extinction Rebellion and I started a local Norwich group the year before last). In the pipeline, we have an event planned with Right to Roam; this is the national trespass group that claims walking rights to land that should rightfully belong to us all, in the form of walking/writing ‘Write to Roam’ day. A couple of weeks ago, as a group we were invited to visit the Wensum Woodland where a local professor of creative writing, Dr Iain Robinson, talked us through the unique ecology of the area and offered some writing activities.

This area is otherworldly in its beauty: dappled sunlight, golden-green woodland glades and home to not only an endangered chalk stream but also a colony of rare barbastelle bats. It is also a place that the council have earmarked for destruction: an unnecessary bypass road is proposed to carve through this ancient land, severing this landscape forever, at a time when people should be encouraged out of their cars, not be permitted to have mere minutes cut from their journey time. Pressure groups (most notably Stop the Wensum Link campaign) are working hard to raise awareness around this nonsensical new road.

Sometimes we have to get out there and fight for global environmental justice, and other times local justice right on our doorsteps couldn’t be more vital. Here’s to resisting a road, protecting nature and championing the richness of local habitats and ecosytems.

This is a short, unedited poem I wrote in the Wensum Woods that morning.

RESISTING A ROAD

Gossamer thin spider web threads catching

slanting sunlight with no beginning, no end,

just a line stretched across the forest floor from

here to there.

A canopy of leaves, dancing green marionettes

as tiny, winged creatures dart in and out of

the frame that holds earth, wood, foliage, sky.

Shot gun jolts me away from tree time,

back to human time, to consumption and

progression and dominion; it

catches the tail end of the breeze and

propels us to a road that will cut through

the heart of this woodland glade if we allow it to.

I breathe.

I resist.

I melt into the green womb of the woodland.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Compliment it with reading my poem Lessons in Weariness, written in custody after I was arrested for attending a demonstration in London & my blog talking about why Norwich is such a good place to run Norwich Writers Rebel.

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