Poem by Nikita Gill

Written for CARE's Parliamentary event on International Women's Day 2024

Nikita Gill at parliamentary event

© Nikita Gill

My friends tell me that the problem is
my optimism. I simply refuse to believe
that this is the end, the end, the end
of everything we love, that the world
only gets worse from here and there is
nothing we can do to stop it.

I tell them that despair is no anchor.
What does despair and pessimism build?
Show me the achievements of despair
on paper and I will counter it with a list
full of what hope built in moments of war,
in tragedy, in famine and fire.

What I am trying to say is, hope is our
only option. What I’m suggesting is,
that we borrow this world from our children,
and let’s face it, we have made a mess,
so it is time now to clean up our chaos.
Somewhere across the earth,

A little girl is helping her mother
pick ever diminishing fruit from a field
that was once abundant. This will be
her inheritance where monsoon ends
too early and she must find a way to
eat and feed everyone she loves.

Somewhere else, a granddaughter
watches the sea take the last of the land
her grandmother gave her. A legacy
once filled with memory now lies underwater.
It is easy to say it is too late when you hear
these stories. Easy to treat them as bygones,

but there are still daughters and granddaughters out there trying to defend
and protect what remains of their history.
We owe it to them to fight with them
and help them build hope where despair grows.
Because you see what we have named impossible

is precisely where the seeds of possibility grow.
The world may be dying, but it is not dead yet.
And yes, the ice caps are melting, and temperatures are rising,
floods and storms are becoming a norm,
things are bad, I won't lie to you,

but still every morning,
the doe and her fawn arrive through the mist
and the magpies dance carefree across the sky.
The willow near the lake sways gently,
And children still look to us for hope,
as if to say,

'It is only impossible
if you don't fight to be alive.
The sea never stops wearing the rocks down
And they may be worn smooth now,
But somehow,
they find a way to survive.'