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Thursday, November 04, 2021


by Frank Joussen

The yawning black-brown scar in the earth that is Germany’s Garzweiler coal mine has already swallowed more than a dozen villages. Centuries-old churches and family homes have been razed and the land they were built on torn away. Farmland has disappeared, graveyards have been emptied. “All destroyed for coal,” says Eckhardt Heukamp, surveying the vast pit that drops away from the edge of his fields, 20 miles west of Cologne. But there’s still more under his feet to be mined. Six more villages are threatened. —The Independent (UK), October 31, 2021

The last house in Luetzerath is white.
White like the presidential palace in Washington?
White like Thomas Mann’s house of exile in California?
White like a blank sheet of paper!
Words fail me to describe
the camp, the tree houses,
the posts of activists
directly in front of the oversized pit.
On my long bike tour, in the headwind,
from Erkelenz I planned on
calling it The Last Homely House.
Why not? Is the fruitful homeland of Erkelenz
with its old farms and villages
not a cosy, peaceful Shire?
Isn’t it the Fellowship’s aim,
en route to unknown, unprecedented dangers,
to gather strength at The Last Homely House
before the annihilation of the Evil
so that all of the cultivated world
won’t be destroyed?
Sure. But a homely house
needs homeland around it,
needs safety for heroes
recognized by all and sundry
instead of a stand-off between
silent security men
and masked activists.
The latter are friendly, talk to me.
Why not? Doesn’t the land
they wish to protect
belong to all plants, animals, humans
on it?

Even to the security men
when they, without their bright
yellow and black vests,
are back home with their loved ones,
reading their children stories
about the great adventure
to save the world?
Frank Joussen is a German teacher and writer, peace and one world activist. His publications include two selections of his poetry. He has co-edited two international anthologies of poetry/fiction in India and one of short stories in Germany. His poems and short stories have also been published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies in India, Australia, G.B., the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Romania, Malta, the U.S.A., Canada, China, Thailand and Japan; some of them have been translated into German, Romanian, Hindi and Chinese.