Cathedral Writer in Residence pens poem on climate change

  • News
  • 19 September 2023
Cathedral Writer in Residence pens poem on climate change

A specially commissioned poem was delivered to faith and community leaders at the annual Our Faith, Our Planet conference earlier this month.

The Our Faith, Our Planet group meet to identify practical steps to reduce carbon footprints across our region. Earlier this year they pledged those commitments to Pope Francis during a audience with the Holy Father in Rome.

Manchester Cathedral Writer in Residence Tom Branfoot has now penned a dedicated poem entitled Depleted Sestina as a call to action in the battle against climate change.

Read Tom’s poem below.


Depleted Sestina

futurity preserves in the word reserve

in a rainy day not the deepest trench of sea

balance the antithesis of expansion

keep the plates spinning, listen

to the drowning centre, docked in bright

division, it was only a matter of time


you were writing meditations on time

while someone plundered the last reserve

if there is other life, let it be brighter

than we, setting fire to the sea

precarious ecologies, listen

before subsidising expansion


the great petrochemical expansion

temperatures rising over time

microphones in the Arctic listen

to collapsing ice, untouched reserves

we know not the extent of sea

humpbacks breaching bright


because the heat is too bright

when thermal expansion

occurs, swelling the sea

the hottest it has been since time

began, speculative reserves

below the North Sea listen


to economic debates, listen

with remorse as the bright

sparks reverse

years of work with expansion

new oil and gas fields, no time

left for the undulant sea


that sea is not a sea

but a centre, listen

to the drowning time

divisive, flare-bright

cease unwelcome expansion

of exhausted reserves