X by Imtiaz Dharker


The poem “X” hums with a nervous energy that makes climate change feel personal.
Dharker is a Pakistan-born British poet and author of at least six books.
She is also the recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for her English poetry.


Hand shaking on the stop-cock, she looks
at the X, the warning cross,

the water-tap unlocked, its padlock cracked.
Breath hacks in the throat, Check your back.

Turn it on and an anxious mutter swells
to thunder in the plastic bucket. Don’t spill it.

Fill it to the top. Lift to the hip, stop,
balance the weight for the dangerous walk

home. Home.
Don’t lose a drop.

From the police chowki across the track
a whistle, a shout. Run. Don’t stop. Don’t slip.

A drag at the hip. Hot, hot underfoot. Water slops
up and out in every direction, over the lip,

over her legs, a shock of cool, a spark of light.
With her stolen piece of sky, she has taken flight.

Behind her, the shouters give up. She puts down
the bucket. The water stills.

She looks into it, looks up to where the blue
is scarred with aimless tracks.

Jet-trails cross each other off
before they die out, a careless X.

Imtiaz Dharker

As The Crisis Escalates…

In our natural world, the issues of climate catastrophe and species extinction is a priority. Stories related to pollution, greenhouse gases, the depleting ozone layer, glacier meltdowns etc. have turned pivotal if we are to attempt to salvage what’s left of our planet earth. We as readers and responsible citizens need to take the threats to our environment seriously. We need to worry about the consequences of damaging the earth and its atmosphere and focus on finding solutions based on scientific facts, not political prejudice or business interests.

As climate change continues to wreak havoc on populations across globe, writers are fighting back with words that jolt, motivate, and best of all, provoke one to act.

Through this platform, I’m offering to the readers, a slim anthology of poems on the subject of climate change. Slim, but by no means weak or tepid. This is poetry that investigates human relationships with the environment. Each poem offers a unique perspective on climate change in its own style. All of the poems here are free to read online, and all are worth your time.

The anthology consists of ten poems that will be published weekly, compiled by Vinita Agarwal.

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