Don’t Frack With The Fairies

It has been ten years since we were first alerted to the fact that this pristine area of the world, a large part of which has the UNESCO recognition for its unique international significance for its natural, as well as built, heritage was under threat from fracking. A good chunk of the what geologists call the Lough Allen Basin lies within the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. It is an international, cross-border venture. As was the initial campaign to prevent drilling in Fermanagh, in Boho back in 2014. At the eleventh hour it was discovered no planning application had ever been made on the quarry drill site. Mark Durkin, the Northern Ireland Secretary of the Environment, ordered that drilling was not possible.

In the meantime, in the Republic of Ireland, activists put through the first ever private member’s bill to ban fracking in the Republic. Just last week the Republic of Ireland was the second nation in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. Much research concludes that the fracking process is catastrophic to the environment. Not only that. Our natural gas isn’t even that good quality.

This week Fermanagh’s newspaper The Impartial Reporter, announced that Tamboran, the corporation vanquished five years ago, has begun the planning application process to frack 600 square kilometers of southwest Fermanagh.

This application covers miles of boundary with the Republic. If the whole Brexit worry over the border wasn’t enough, now we have to worry about genocide by enviromentocide. This move feels provocative to me, coming at this time while the Brexit negotiations grind on and the wrangle about how to handle the contentious boundary.

But be in no doubt. Fracking has a well-documented adverse effect on public health, and a negative impact on agriculture and tourism. That’s the backbone of our economy for the many and it will be destroyed. Fracking is another 1% move on destroying people in the name of profit for the very, very few.

But what was miraculous in the campaign against the frackers five years ago, is that it united the population and cut across the sectarian divide. Because everyone here loves the land. And the land herself was under attack. It is again.

So poetry practice meets agitprop today. The new poetry form I found is, appropriately, an Irish one, the treochair. It is made up of tercets, or three line stanza of 3-7-7 syllables. The first and third lines are meant to rhyme and alliteration is strongly encouraged.

Whether you are a fairy agnostic or not, be in no doubt that they helped us upset the Tamboran plan last time. We are allies in this fight.

Don't Frack With the Fairies

Don't frack with the fairies!
It's a toxic formula.

Forsooth! Frack
at your peril. Don't let loose
cracking egomaniacs.

Believe you me,
Tamboran will have no luck
tampering with those tinies.

Just listen!
It's just never healthy
to snort, give out derision.

Not so wee
The Good Folk. Or the Auld Ones.
Call them as they may be.

your position on fairies
this is a doomed endeavour.

The planet needs patching up.
Join the Fairy Fianna!

Mother Earth
Needs all of us as allies
protecting purity's worth.

Frack fairies?
The truth? Their revenge will mean
apocolyspe, catastrophe.

Not just for
us, or you, or family.
Fracking is forevermore.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

A River Runs Through

We are no clearer as to what will happen to our border come 29th March, 2019, the Brexit deadline. Teresa May was hoarse and shouted down in Parliament the other day. Still the only movement seems that the penny dropped that No Deal is really a very bad deal for all concerned. Four centuries of British invasion and colonialism have come home to roost. It’s a knot they made for themselves. Well, their ancestors made for them. For those who feel no ancestral connection, who believe that post-moderns are beyond history, this is where history, ancestral decisions and actions brings us. Victors may get to write the official history. The land and the ancestors know the whole story.

As an aside, today marks six months since starting to write a poem a day and posting it on this blog. I had done the month long NaPoWriMo in April 2017 and 2018, but I felt the itch to challenge myself. I had no idea that I would still be here. You can see my flops and the successes. But at least I am having the courage to write on a daily basis.

I am really grateful for my faithful readership (you know who you are. And so do I!) and my faithful Twittership Traci York (check out her blog The blog has evolved with poetry writing as a spiritual practice and as a journal. Not so much of outward happenings – there have been momentous occurances – but of my inward response to them, or even my deflection of them.) I do at regular intervals wonder how long I can keep this up, especially as I start juggling teaching and three different projects over the next three months. That will be a real test of the practice.

A River Runs Through

Borders may shift
but the land stays still.
Rivers demarcate
the only sure
lines you can cross
on maps.
                   No matter
the tribe you subscribe,
they can deny
you, throw you to
hell or Connaught, out
beyond the Pale,
into schtetl,
township bulldozered.
you can become
a Them, a Not-Us
so easily.

do you love?
they love you at
your last moment?
the earth reject
your lifeless form?

The land knows you, that
you are their own.
Where your bones rest
it calls you its own.
No maps or border,
no tribe ever
will describe all
the story the land
tells us.
                 Listen. Here.
A river runs
through like blood.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Losing A Soul

I’m a bit sleep deprived since I went to bed later than usual, on an adreneline high from performing at a local Open Mic session organised by a project run out of the Glens Centre in Manorhamilton. It’s been bringing together Open Mic poets and musicians cross border. Last night the venue was Blacklion, Co. Cavan, right by the imaginary line called border, which is roughly the halfway point between Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, and Enniskillen in Fermanagh. And since the border between Northern Ireland, (which is technically in the UK for those who do not know) and the Republic of Ireland, has long been a hot button topic, and possibly the sticking point in the whole of the Brexit negotiations, border was the night’s theme. I read two poems written and posted in 2018. Since borders was the night’s theme, I opened with Borderland ( followed with Collateral Damage.( Well, you cannot say I chose cheery poems for my local Open Mic debut. But then I am the woman who had the brass neck to read a poem titled “Chaos is Good News” to a group of stunned Brits two weeks after the Remain or Leave vote.

But now for something completely different. Today’s poem has more metaphysical themes, a different sort of liminality all together, if similarly un-cheery as my choice of poems read at the Open Mic. In shamanist circles there is a phrase I have heard ‘soul loss’ and ‘soul pieces.’ And those phrases tugged at me for exploration. I played around with this idea while I was sitting in the car waiting on my husband doing an errand the other day. It’s handy to stow a tiny notebook in the handbag that has, according to the dear husband, Tardis proportions. You can write scrappy lines and ideas and non sequiteurs that might grow into a Poetry Daily.

Losing Your Soul

The soul is said to depart.
It’s how we know someone is dead.
Their body has gone inanimate
a piece of stone on a marble slab.

But it may not have happened
all of a sudden.
We might have been throwing
pieces away, a bit  every year.
A bit fell off  like a limb.
Or escaped during a hit and run.
It could have been a lie
that changed the molecules
in the air
that altered the cells,

and so, year on year,
the soul’s organism was dying,
going increasingly

Would that we could commend it,
as one whole.
pieces have been lost,
left unclaimed,
lost like housekeys
never recovered.

Or we give pieces away
to those who have no need
for any part of a soul
its currency unrecognised.

We die a little
piece by piece
as we spend a bit of soul
here and there.
Losing one’s soul
is how we know
we are dead.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by lee yeongkyeong on Unsplash