Our Executive Director Tony Earnshaw reflects on January resolutions, and on where our focus should be, in a new poem for the new year.

As part of our show Passion for the Planet last summer audience members were invited to plant seeds and to water them. The result was the vibrant splash of colour pictured above. A reminder that we can create new beginnings, that seeds which we plant can produce something beautiful, an encouragement as we start a new year.

I took the photo on a planning trip for our next project and it was moving to see the bed of flowers, evidence that we had been before and that our activities in Gateshead were bearing fruit already. This gives added impetus and energy to our plans for the summer 2022 project, of which more later.

As we start a new year it’s traditional to make resolutions, many of which fall quickly by the wayside. Maybe it’s more important to plant a seed, something we should be doing every time we write, create, perform.

So, following on from Susan Quilliam’s recent blog invitation to choose a word for the year, mine is ‘planting’ – and my reflections on January resolutions, and on where our focus should be, are embodied in the poem below which, as some of you will notice, leans heavily on Louis MacNeice.

The wrong time

It’s the wrong time of year for weight loss
So cold we need our starch
A stone lost in January
Returns with more in March

So it’s no go your mind gyms and it’s no go your diets
And it’s no go your healthy food, let’s find some fat and fry it

It’s time for self-obsession
So eat the stuff you’re keen on
Keep fuelling for survival
Till you can’t get your jeans on

So it’s no go your morning runs and it’s no go your press ups
And it’s no go your fitness lies, just laze right there and fess up

It’s the wrong time of the year for improving
For changing our lazy ways
Much better to light up another
And cough through the smoke-filled haze

It’s the wrong time of year to cut carbon
To learn again how to walk
When the money men and the statesmen
Would much sooner posture than talk

So it’s no go your windmills and it’s no go your solar
And it’s no go your moaning when the Arctic feels like Angola
And it’s no go complaining that we’re in such a mess
When half the population still reads the Daily Express

And it’s no go Mauritius, sinking beneath the sea
And it’s no go the finger pointing at you and me
And it’s no go the migrants looking for somewhere to land
Let ‘em sail like the Flying Dutchman, they should have had something planned

And it’s no go your wildlife and it’s no go your cancer
And it’s no go your prudent man and it’s no go your chancer
Just wrap me up in an outsized flag and hang me out to dry
And say this is the generation that didn’t even try

© C A Earnshaw