Wednesday, 4 May 2022

May Days: On Strike, Out of Breath

The schools in Helsinki are on strike, so the kids and I are at home. It feels strange to be in a union and on strike after 30 plus years of working freelance or low wage jobs. Schools in Finland only had the first 6-week lockdown due to Covid, but have stayed open since, so it feels weird to shut them for this. But necessary. 

I'm not sure how long the strike will last, a week at most at least to begin with. I can't do school work and can't do much of my research project beside go through literature, but I have so much I want to do, I need to read for my course tomorrow, plant potatoes and onions, tidy the garden after cutting down a tree, clean the house (ok, I don't want to do that, but it needs doing) and write, of course. 

Vappu (May Day or Beltane) was cold as usual. We tried a picnic with our Scottish Society friends, but it was short-lived. 

The birch trees are massing to kill me with their pollen. My eyes itch so much, so the outside work I need to do will have its negative outcomes, but I need to get on. But the days are long, it's 9.30pm and the sun is just thinking about setting, so I feel invigorated, even if I don't really have the energy. A few new poems are trickling out as well, partially due to this, but also due to the kick of Global Poetry Writing Month in April.

I'll try to use this time the best I can between also having the kids home and loads of uni work to do. 

Publication update: I've had a poem 'Lokakuu, Mud-Month' published in Poetry Scotland. I've also been chosen to be part of the Fevers of the Mind's Wolfpack, a special month feature spot on the site. I'm very grateful for having this opportunity. Last Leaves has published my poem 'Finding Family' for the latest issue. Thanks to all the magazines and websites for including my work, it's lovely to feel a part of the writing community. 

A post-script: It has felt non-stop with worries these days. Climate change, Covid, Brexit, Ukraine and Finland wondering whether to join NATO and now the possible repeal of Roe vs Wade. I tend to keep away from the political here as it's so overwhelming and I need a respite, but it feels like we're sliding towards something dark and omnipresent that's slowly consuming us.

I started a list poem about the time the Amazon and Australian fires were happening, a list of 'I can't breathe' lines, each a body blow of breath-stopping events from across the world, from George Floyd to the streets of Bucha. It keeps growing, saddeningly. I see no signs of being able to stop writing it, but I need to speak up in my small way.

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