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Henderson Island by Fran Thurling

Arts Richmond

Online - 18 June 2020

Henderson Island by Fran Thurling

Henderson Island

(This poem started from a photograph and article in The Guardian in May 2017  based on a scientific report about plastic pollution on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific.)

Coral atoll.

Pacific paradise?

Polynesians left you to turtles, crabs, sea birds,

your own endemic chicken, lorikeet, dove and warbler.

'Bounty' mutineers landed at Pitcairn nearby.

'Moby Dick' whale-ship sailed past.

Captain Henderson spied you in 1819.

US millionaire failed to buy you.

UNESCO flagged up your pristine island eco-system.


Edge of a vortex.

Winds and tides converge.

Your beach collects life's debris -

buoyant, plastic, non-degradable.

See this crab in his blue Avon's cosmetic jar-house.

Three and a half thousand items wash daily ashore -

fishing-gear, hard hats, toothbrushes, dominoes,

green toy soldiers, red Monopoly hotels.

'Scientists are left speechless.'


                                                                                                 Fran Thurling

Poem for the Day Henderson Island

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