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Poetry in Ocean

A literary first for MCS   

MCS has a Poet in Residence! Susan Richardson hopes to stimulate minds, inspire passion for marine wildlife and help attract a new breed of literary-mnded, wildlife-lovers to the charity.

Susan has received funding from an anonymous private donor for her collaboration with MCS on this eco-arts project and MCS commissioned Susan to write poetry inspired by our 30 Threatened Species appeal.

The programme will also involve a poetry-writing workshop and follow-up performance events around our home county of Herefordshire – which annually hosts a number of high profile literature festivals, a poetry commission on our 30 Threatened Species theme, and a presentation at our AGM.

The programme has been based on recent successful projects Susan has worked on during  collaborations with WWF and FOE/Bee Cause.

To find out more about Susan's work, her publications and performances, you can visit her website -

Make sure you like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit our website for up to date news of Susan’s work with MCS. 

As a bit of a taster though - here's Susan's marine themed poem 'Nerrivik' 

Do not mistake me for a mermaid.
Do not presume I’ll swim to the surface,

perch on a berg and croon.

Do not tell your kids coddled in caribou fur

a fairytale of my creation.

Hold the kayak of truth to their ears:

let them hear

                the slice

of the knife when my father chopped

       off my fingers,

my arctic howl as I sank

                                to the ocean floor,

the bloodsong of my thumbs as they bulged

                 with blubber –

before my icestruck eyes, belugas formed.

My index fingers were instant narwhals –

                                                   tusks burst

from nails.  Ringed seals zinged

     from my middle fingers, while the littlest wriggled

           far from mammaldom,

riddled with gills and scales.


Do not, however, spear me with pity.

If my whalejaw comb cracks,

if the stumps of my wrists can’t clear

the knots from the thick black fronds of my hair,

I can summon a shaman to tackle the tangles,

with the weave and tickle of mackerel and cod.


All I demand is that you treat this zone,

which I was forced to make my home, with care.

Do not thaw my ceiling.

Do not stain my walls with your crimson greed.

Don’t rip up my floor with your trawlers.

Don’t furnish me with debris from your submarines.


Remember – one shrug

       of my shoulders can cause

a four-day storm. I can calve bergs

                                               from glaciers

with the smallest sneeze.  If I am displeased,

I will call the offspring of my fingers to me

and make fists to breach         your overwater world,

                                 to punch       

         your beloved sun       from its     sky.


This poem was previously published in Susan's second collection, 'Where the Air is Rarefied' (Cinnamon Press, 2011):

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