Walking on Oil
We stand on it
we are here because of it
our bellies are swiped with it
to show an unborn child.
We write with it
we are clothed in it
empire was built on it
our feet are shod with it
we are warmed by it
our skin is soothed with it.
Seas are raped for it
countries plundered for it
sea birds die in it
we are stained with it.
There is gold in it
men live for it
men die for it
nothing is as black as it
we worship it
we cannot escape from it.
Women enclosed in garden and give birth
While husbands toil in oil
So as to give them its spoil.
Venus offers hope and riches in oil
Her wells eject oil towards heaven
Eject disappointment, sad despair.
All around is permeated, polluted
But Venus continues to offer blithe hope and riches
Does not see beyond her pool.
Wives despair but have no power
Believe man makes them safe.
Meanwhile oil permeates the sky above
Causes death below
Albatross flies over
No flesh to cleanv Only oil in flesh and feathers.
Tonnage of drills continue to bore
More oil ejects, fills the sea, fills the air
Deadens the bird, the bear, he hearts of the women who love.
Oil surrounds all
Its promise turned foil.
She immediately focused. There was no noticeable change – the stillness and silence of the place had engulfed her. Life or death didn’t matter now.
In that moment she became almost immortal. She knew her life wasn’t infinite, but her impact was. She saw that mortality was incredibly simple, that it was only in the mind. In that tiny fragment of a second she was ready for death, however far away that might be, and whatever came after it.
It was dark where she was. She didn’t know when she had noticed it, but suddenly she knew it was dark. There was no visible light seeping towards her. At one point she realised that she could move. She stretched her limbs – they felt small. She was – perhaps inside – a young girl.
Her thoughts crept slowly through her mind; there was no need for fast thinking – she didn’t think time really existed here. When one thought reached her it was that most people had a name. She didn’t know what hers was, if she had one or if she even wanted one. Eventually she decided that if she needed one, she would have one.
Slowly she began to notice other things. She could hear and feel the cool wind caressing her body, sense the earth underneath her feet. She gazed upwards and after a while her eyes finally adjusted. She could tell it was a cloudy night, because there were no stars to be seen, but she didn’t know how she knew the expression. She began to know the world around her.
She gazed at the heavens for an eternity, only noticing she had fallen into unconsciousness when she arose from the depths of sleep. The brilliant light of the sun showed her the beautiful world she had come into. She could feel the intense power radiating off every kind of being, animate or not. Marvellous sounds made their way to her – she identified them as birdsong and animal cries, though she had encountered neither singer.
After an age of sitting in wonder she stretched her too small limbs and stood up for the first time; it felt as easy as thinking, like so many things in her life did. She walked with no reason other than to take in the wonderful atmosphere. She soaked up nutrients through the soil upon which she walked, like so many life forms had before. Every being seemed to want to help her: from minute bacterial plankton to vast mountain spirits. Even after the end of their lives, which seemed so short to her, they helped to keep her alive.
She could feel every life on her planet. She rejoiced when another one joined the myriad and mourned for every life that passed away. She occasionally wondered how long her own life would last, but she soon got distracted by a mass of thoughts about things she saw, heard and felt. Every few thousand millennia a species would appear that she took particular interest in – one of these would be the death of her.
The Human Race
She loved beings that resembled her, so she grew to love apes and chimpanzees. When they evolved into Homo sapiens she was fantastically surprised that they were exactly the same as her spirit self! Her body had grown into that of a young woman’s and she noticed several women who looked in need of a good friend, but when she approached them they acted as if she didn’t exist. The only people who noticed her were the infants of the tribe.
The babies and toddlers looked to her as another mother, but when they had been in the world for around seven cycles of the sun they would turn away from her like their older tribe members. The little ones tried to tell their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers but they cast the thought aside as a fantasy. Not one full grown human had ever noticed her - an older Homo sapiens would never believe a child’s wisdom.
The humans evolved quickly, adopting the rule that most animals comply with, that women are inferior to men. She could not understand why they thought that – she knew that women thought the same, needed the same things, were as clever as men and as strong, yet they were treated as though they were a different life form. She could see that humans were easily the most intelligent creatures apart from the spirits, and cleverer than some of them. They began to use tools to make their life easier – they were indeed clever, but perhaps not wise. Although their race evolved quickly, individually they took longer than most beings to become fully-grown – in mind as well as body. They usually were considered adults after twenty-one cycles of the sun!
Millennia after she first set eyes on them it became clear that the humans were the most vicious of all creatures that had ever existed. Like other carnivores they killed for nourishment and to protect their tribe, but soon they began fighting between themselves. That wasn’t unusual among animals, who did it to protect their land, but the Homo sapiens seemed to like war! They fought to conquer each other’s land and if any other beings got in the way of what they wanted to do they destroyed whole races for their land. They chopped down ancient oaks and slender vines; they redirected waterways; they forged caves and tunnels through hills and into mountains and cut holes into Earth itself. The other spirits turned their backs on her for liking the humans and refused to speak to her.
She tried to reason with the humans, but they ignored her, as always. She tried to reason with the spirits, but they didn’t believe that she could love them, even though they were destroying the planet they needed to survive. Nobody talked to her apart from the animals who didn’t know why the others wouldn’t, but they weren’t intelligent enough to understand her feelings. The human young still spoke to her, which she was glad of. They still adored her as an older sister or a mother. But then humans invented “machines” – things that were made out of inanimate objects with spirits that they had killed, which could move!
The machines were beings without a soul, their only purpose to serve the humans. They worked by day and night, with no need for sleep. After years of this torture humans realised that to make the machines go unsupported they would need some kind of nourishment. To find a suitable food source for the vile creatures they searched fruitlessly for many years. One day a hunting party discovered her tracks, or “footprints” as the Homo sapiens named them. This was the first time any mature human being had taken any notice of her! She, and the humans, were very excited by their discovery.
The humans raced back as fast as their slow – by animal standards – legs would take them. She decided not to follow them, but to see what their chieftain would bid them do. An incredibly short time later – what they lost in physical speed the Homo sapiens made up for in amazing speed of thought – a decision was made to “tread carefully” (what a strange term for the clumsy human beings) around her tracks and see where it lead them.
Before dawn the next day the human males raced the Sun, East to the place where they had found her footprints. They followed them to the place where she had lain down to sleep that night and found her unprotected and fragile in a hollow in the Earth. The men had come with many machines – including one, which needed many men to operate, that they used to dig into the ground. By dawn they had excavated a considerable amount out of the Earth near her. Meanwhile the women had been tying many ropes together in an intricate fashion, which, when they had finished with them, was big enough to cover the hole in which she slept.
When she woke up mere hours later, the humans had secured the enormous net over her place of rest. She was so surprised that she couldn’t move for a time. When she stood she could see the men next to piles of earth, waiting for an instruction from their leader – who never participated, but left his people to do everything for him. Eventually he came forward to speak to her. “Creature!” he shouted slowly, “Do you understand me?” She was confused – of course she did! “I do!” she answered gently, “Can you finally see me? I have waited and waited for this day, the day when you finally know of me! But why have you trapped me down here?”
Troubles of a Chief
The chieftain was shocked – he had not looked upon the “creature” before, and it seemed like they had captured a human female. He was worried, too, for if he had indeed trapped a woman from another tribe it would mean a war between the two if word got out, which it would if they let her go. He knew that he must not let the women see it, for they would demand to have it set free and his wife would shun him for a long, long time. In the end he decided to go with the original plan. He gave the order and turned away.
She watched, dismayed, as the humans began to cart the earth they had dug up on top of the net that was holding her down. They were chanting as they worked: “Oi, lads HEAVE! Oi, lads HEAVE! ’’ After what, to the men on the ground above, an eternity, and their voices were coming in puffs and wheezes, they chant slowly disintegrated into “Oi’lad hea... Oi’la he… Oi’l h… Oi’l… Oi’l…”
Afterwards, the human beings would remember that day as “the day they caught the Oi’l”.
She slumped down to the depths of the hollow when she saw their plan coming to close and watched the last remaining trickles of light disappear. She began to get scared by the confined space, the space that the humans had condemned her to for the rest of her existence. She slumped down even more, as far as was possible and further. She began to break apart, out of fear, old age or just going to far into the rock. Whatever the reason, she eventually became no more than a black liquid, seeping through the ground: settling in parts and moving on in others.
After many years, she settled into the places that she stopped flowing in, not moving on anymore. She stayed this way for an age, never growing or shrinking, never ageing or needing. Suddenly, out of the blackness of her blank existence, she felt a sharp new pain. It felt as if something, or someone, was taking part of herself away! She moved her conscious thoughts to the place it originated from, and found something that she did not understand at all. There was a new structure in place, something she had never noticed before, which was probing towards the middle of the Earth; the very thing her body protected. The structure was causing her great pain! She could sense that it was taking a part of her body – the fluid that her body had become – away, up towards the sky.
Slowly, she began to accept the pain. Over the years it grew stronger and stronger, as more and more of the structures were pushed into the Earth’s crust. She realised that her death might now not be very far away, as every time a new bit of pain came, an old bit of her self disappeared. Sometime soon she would be no more.
When the masters of the machines noticed that their supply of “Oi’l” had run out, they were flummoxed with what they could do next to keep their species going any longer - what next would they find to destroy the world with?
On the vast ice plains Polar Bear paces ….. Waiting
In the thin air flying high is Albatross
His wings span the ocean, he is…..Waiting
Deep in side the earth, cracks appear
Spreading up into fire……
On a matchstick reflection in stormy seas
Oil leaks out, un stem able…
The wind howls, churning up every thing in to a destructive, dangerous, disaster.
Two children sit looking out at the rain, rain, rain. Even the computer games have been
‘This is so boring, what can we do?’ asks James.
‘I want an adventure!’ replies Sophie.
‘An adventure, an adventure, we want an adventure.’ They start to chant over and over, clapping their hands and stomping their feet.
Into the room enters with great fury, the North wind, sweeping the children up in his huge arms. He throws them up into the air, they spin, swish, turning around and around.
‘Where on earth are we?’ ‘What on earth has happened?’ says James.
It is cold, not just cold but ice cold, a white ice cold.
Then they see him, the Polar Bear lumbering towards them silently across the endless, seamless, ever- lasting ice. Nearer he comes, they are paralysed with fear.
But his eyes seem to say ‘Do not be fearful, I have been waiting so long for you!’
With his right paw he reaches out for Sophie and gently puts her onto his back.
Then with the left paw he takes James and him on his back behind Sophie.
It is like being on top of a soft moving blanket, smelling of fish oil. They doze in and out of sleep and dream.
They see the landscape change, slowly the huge ice plains and ice banks are melting they are on the polar bears back still but he is surrounded by water. The soft wind whispers: ‘You are the last of a kind.’ ‘Extinction is at hand.’ ‘It is too late, too late!
Then they are fully awake and see and hear the ocean, a vast ocean stretching, stretching out and out.
Bear speaks to them they hear him in their minds.
‘There is still time.’
He raises his great head and the children look up and they all see a small speck in the pale blue sky.
Slowly it grows into a beautiful Albatross.
‘The bird is also endangered.’ Bear mumbles with such sadness!
‘At Last’ says Albatross his voice is high and loud.
‘Here you are, you wanted an adventure, so here you are and you will have an adventure alright!’
‘Not just any old adventure but a saving the world stuff, so let’s hope you are up to it my friends!’
‘Come on then, no time to stand and stare, say farewell to Bear, let’s go’
‘Climb aboard the Albatross Express.’
Bear gently tips them off his back and they climb on to the back of Albatross. Soon they are high and looking back Bear is now a speck in the distance.
Flying above the ocean they see whales and dolphins playing, flying fish jumping in and out of a Wave less sea.
The dolphins circle and seem to be marking a place in the ocean. Albatross tosses the children off his back with out any warning, into the water. At first they splatter and panic, but as they descend their breathing steadies, they are swimming effortlessly down, deeper and deeper drawn down by a silver current of small fish.
They swim past many sea creatures, coral reefs creating a garden of delight, a sea paradise.
The silver fish lead them to a cave, which strangely is dry and they are soon walking on crunchy golden sand.
Just like a picture book scene there are two coral thrones and seated on them is a Mermaid and a Merman. Together they say:
‘At last, time is running out,
Oil is spilling into our ocean,
Humans are still tipping more rubbish in our sea!’
‘The earth is cracking up,
The weather’s gone a miss,
You have a task to do my young friends, a task indeed!’
The Mermaid takes 2 small turquoise gems and gives them to James. The Merman takes 2 small emerald gems and gives them to Sophie.
‘These need to be put back into the earth, to stop it cracking; the oil can then be reformed in the earth beds. This is likely to take several hundreds of years. So humans need to stop drilling and use other forms of energy. YOU MUST TELL THEM! Tell them to use the wind, waves from the sea, the sun that shines for them. YOU must tell them to:
Look after the earth and the oceans OR WE WILL ALL DIE!’
‘Go now.’ ‘It is time’ ‘Go, Go now!’
James and Sophie take the gems and are pulled again through the clear, colourful waters, then the atmosphere changes. Darkness envelopes them they are covered in mucky, smelling sticky stuff, bits of rope and old tissues, it is horrid. Then they emerge out of the water and Albatross appears:
‘Got the water gems, good, good, okay time to go to the next level.’ ‘Come on.’ ‘No time to waste, onto the Albatross Express.’
Now they are flying over a desert it is hot, not just hot but red, flaming, fire hot.
Even the flapping of Alatross’s huge wings does not cool them. The desert gives way at last to high ragged mountains with caves set in them like screaming mouths.
‘There you go,’ says Albatross dropping them off unceremoniously by the side of one of the caves.
James and Sophie enter the cave; it is damp and dark but so cool. When their eyes get accustomed to the level of light they see four figures standing in the corners of the cave. One of the figures steps out:
‘I am the wind of the East, the sun is my companion.’
He wears a flowing coat of orange gold.
‘Come closer human children, you have a very important job to do.’
In his hand is a glittering red stone that he gives to James.
‘This stone must be replaced at the earth’s core circle, at the Eastern point. Then the sun will settle and be human’s friend again, but only if humans learn how to behave and be more considerate and less greedy.’ He steps back and another figure steps out.
‘I am the South wind and I am the friend of fire,
She wears a dress of feathers shades of all of nature colours and her hair is red and orange of fire.
‘This orange blue stone must be placed at the South of the earth’s core circle.’ ‘Fire and heat are useful as you know but must be contained to be safe.’
She smiles at them tenderly giving Sophie the stone. She steps back and another figure steps out.
‘I am the wind of the West, where the sun sets, so the moon and the stars can take over the oceans currents and wash the earth in peaceful sleep.’
She is wearing a shimmering silver dress that reflects star light and has glittering stars in her hair.
‘Take this,’ she gives Sophie a single, silver pearl.
‘It must be replaced at the western point of the earth’s core circle. If Humans learn to care for the earth then the moon and stars will stop the floods that have become a problem.’ She steps back for the last figure to step out.
North wind comes forward;
He is tall like an icle and wears clothes that are the shade of many whites.
‘My land of ice and snow must be saved as you both know; the melting is under way already!’
‘What you humans need to know is that, ALL IS CONNECTED.’
He gives his stone to James, it looks white until seen in the light and then it contains all the rainbows colours and shades.
‘Go now children, go.’ North wind blows and very gently this time the other winds blow too.
The children are quickly blown back to the desert and Albatross is waiting.
‘Good, let’s go, hop on’ albatross tells them.
They fly for a long time and James and Sophie are tired and hungry.
‘Nearly there, nearly complete,’ sings Albatross in to the winds as they travel on.
They see before them a huge volcano, fire is shooting out from it and lighting up the sky, a deep red glow.
‘The earth‘s core circle is at the volcano’s base, that is where you must place the gems,’ Albatross says.
‘Oh wow!’ shouts James.
‘Oh no!’ shouts Sophie.
Albatross sets them down on the rim of that roaring, rippling, rushing volcano edge.
‘Okay let’s go’ calls James.
Holding hands they jump, eyes closed and fall down, down. The fire does not burn them because the winds are with them blowing them down at the fire’s edge.
They land but there are enormous cracks every where so it is hard to find place to stand safely.
Around the fire is a circle of stones with four holes for the missing stones. To the outside are four small circles joined to the large one. In the centre of these are holes too.
‘Oh dear, which stones go where?’ asks Sophie.
From far above and around them they hear soft voices of Bear, Albatross, the Mermaid, Merman and the Winds;
‘Just do it, time is running out.’
So James and Sophie place the direction gems NORTH, EAST, SOUTH, and WEST in the holes in the fire circle.
Then the water gems one in each of the other circles.
‘Done’ says James.
‘Yes’ replies Sophie.
As the stones are set back into the holes the cracks in the earth start to close, slowly but surely. The soil in the small circles starts to thicken and drops of fine thick oil appear; just a few drops.
The fire continues to roar, above and around them the voices are singing; ‘It is done, at last it is done, the children have put back the stones and gems, and there is now a second chance for us all.’
‘All done, I want to go home!’ signs Sophie.
The winds sweep the children up once more, resting in the arms of the four great winds they are carried up and across the earth; the night sky is bright with stars that wink at them. They wave as they pass the moon so full and radiant.
James and Sophie are carried tenderly and safely back to their home.