Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe is a journalist, poet and Quaker peace activist, based in Wales, UK. She is a Bread and Roses Spoken Word 2020 Award winner, has appeared on BBC radio, and her poetry has featured in many anthologies including Red Poets, Blackheath Countercultural Review, and the Ymlaen/Onward! anthology of radical Welsh poetry (Culture Matters, 2019).

Camels and Needles
Sunday, 25 April 2021 11:27

Camels and Needles

Published in Poetry

Camels and Needles

by Rebecca Lowe

‘It is easier for a camel to pass
Through the eye of a needle
Than for a rich man to enter heaven’…

‘Ah,’ you say,
‘But it depends on the size of the needle,
It depends on the size of the camel.’

Poverty is relative
only for the rich.

Try telling the woman
queuing up outside the foodbank
that poverty is relative –
She has spent half a day
and most of her remaining cash
getting on and off of buses
to reach the benefits office
to be told that due to a ‘technical hitch’
her universal credits payment
has been delayed –
It’s raining,
The baby in the pram yowls,
She yanks down her hood,
hoping nobody will see her and judge.

Everything is relative.

Like, it’s relative
not to care about buying fairtrade food
to help the starving children in Africa,
like the smiling church lady said you should,
when you’ve five children
of your own at home
going hungry.

Like, it’s relative for the woman
behind the benefits counter
on a moderate income
to close down her computer
at the end of the day
and go back to a decent meal
and a warm home.

Like, it’s relative
for the politician who declares
there’s no need to increase the
basic rate of universal credit
because ‘£85.68 a week is plenty’,
then treats his colleagues
to a meal and a £100 bottle of wine.

Everything’s relative –
Camels and needles

The myth of the trickle-down economy,
Money leeching up from poor to rich,
Lining the pockets of greed:

‘But I worked hard to get where I am today’

Tell that to the nurse on basic wage,
who today held the hands of a dying woman
and learned that her work is not worth
more than a one per cent pay rise

Tell that to the single mum working
three jobs to pay the rent on a flat
with mould growing up the walls.

Tell that
To every worker
In every city
In every country
Of the world

When the camel finally manages
To squeeze through that needle,
I might just believe it!

 

Our Father Eclipse
Thursday, 11 March 2021 17:11

Our Father Eclipse

Published in Poetry

Trumpets

by Rebecca Lowe

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)

Germany April 4, 2015:
A lone girl looks up into the sky:
The sound, a metallic groaning,
Like somebody put the keys
in a rusted ignition.

In Bristol, they refer to it
as 'the Bristol hum',
A rumbling accompaniment
that hovers on the breeze
like wings.

Reports come in from other places:
Canada, Ukraine, Germany, Australia, Belarus

In Montana, USA,
A man wakes up screaming,
Describing it as 'like ancient gears shifting'

Theories are formulated:
Power lines, electromagnetic radiation,
The sounds of the Earth’s cracking crust,
Or (my favourite), the mating call
of a male Midshipman fish.

YouTube videos spring up,
With the attendant comments:
'They are weapons hidden among us'
'Super creepy!' 'Weird!’
Conspiracy theories form.

From my bedroom, in my half sleep,
A noise like a hunting horn,
One long blast, then three
repeated, in sharp succession,
A final note, almost like weeping,
Sweeping in across the bay,
The sound of a shofar
calling to worship.

I sleep.
I dream of angels.

This poem is from Our Father Eclipse, by Rebecca Lowe, just published by Culture Matters.

It is a pseudo-apocalyptic, eco-socialist, dystopian vision of the world. Framed amid the realities of global pandemic and climate emergency, it speaks to a post-truth political era where neoliberal capitalism is clearly and dramatically failing. Dark, yet edged with hope, it contains questions of faith, belief and truth at its heart. Visionary and observational by turns, it is both unsettling and provocative, full of radical passion and revolutionary compassion. 

The book is available here.

 

Blooding
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 14:56

Blooding

Published in Poetry

Blooding

by Rebecca Lowe

'After the first, it becomes easier,'
The cold, wild-eyed stare of the deer,
A crazy fish-eye lens looking backwards
through terror - you shiver,
You are only twelve years old
and know what's coming,
You've seen it before,
A fistful of blood on your face,
Still warm, from the dead beast,
The violence of your father's pride,
You smile, trying not to retch -
A rite of passage -

At school they taught you how
to stand in line - no flaws,
No questions, no insubordination,
To stand up straight, as the
Inspecting Sergeant hurled
Insult after insult,
To stand up straight,
And never to cry.

'After your first, it becomes easier',
Easier to stand on the side
of the strong, and so you become
the hunter, not the quarry,
Learn to inflict pain
quickly and humanely,
Learn to look away,
And never catch
Another's eye -
A rite of passage -

One day, you will run
A company,
A city, a country -
You will learn to push buttons,
You will learn to issue orders,
You will learn to look away -
A rite of passage -
And learn to ignore
Any sense of horror
or revulsion, or fear,
That after the first,
Tenth, hundredth, thousandth,
It has become easy,
Oh yes, it has become
All too frighteningly easy.

The image above is Walter Wolfgang's Banner, by David Hugh Lockett