The Poem That Unites Us
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the image of plastic litter at Lumley Beach in Freetown paints the best Environment portrait. World Poetry Day is several months away. But since 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has encouraged us to celebrate all poetic expression on March 21.
This month, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, helped raise the visibility of poetry in the media. As guest editor for British VOGUE magazine, she shared a poem by Matt Haig, a best-selling British author, and mental health advocate, to help bring people together and invite them to join in the discussion about our environment.
Below is “A Note From the Beach” from Matt Haigs' book “Notes on a Nervous Planet.”
I am the beach.
I am created by waves and currents.
I am made of eroded rocks.
I exist next to the sea.
I have been around for millions of years.
I was around at the dawn of life itself.
And I have to tell you something.
I don't care about your body.
I am a beach.
I literally don't give a fuck.
I am entirely indifferent to your body mass index.
I am not impressed that abdominal muscles are invisible to the naked eye.
I am oblivious.
You are one of 200,000 generations of human beings.
I have seen them all.
I will see the generations that come after you, too.
It won't be as many. I'm sorry.
(The sea hates you. The poisoners. That's what it calls you. A bit melodramatic, I know. But that's the sea for you. All drama.)
And I have to tell you something else.
Even the other people on the beach don't care about your body.
They are staring at the sea, or they are obsessed with their own appearance.
And if they are thinking about you, why do you care?
Why do you humans worry so much about a stranger's opinion?
Why don't you what I do? Let it wash all over you.
Allow yourself just to be as you are.